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BY    THE 



Coll.  Christ. 



NO.    170    MARKET    STREET. 






THAT  the  faithful  may  approach  the  Sacraments  with  greater 
reverence  and  devotion,  the  Holy  Synod  commands  all  Bishops  not 
only  to  explain,  in  a  manner  accommodated  to  the  capacity  of  the 
receivers,  the  nature  and  use  of  the  Sacraments,  when  they  are  to 
be  administered  by  themselves ;  but  also  to  see  that  every  Pastor 
piously  and  prudently  do  the  same,  in  the  vernacular  language, 
should  it  be  necessary  and  convenient.  This  exposition  is  to  accord 
with  a  form  to  be  prescribed  by  the  Holy  Synod  for  the  adminis 
tration  of  all  the  Sacraments,  in  a  Catechism,  WHICH  BISHOPS  WILL 


*  Cone.  Trid.  Sess.  24.  de  Reform,  c.  7 

t  n. « 



THE  ROMAN  CATECHISM,  of  which  an  English  translation  is  now  sub 
mitted  to  the  public,  was  composed  by  decree  of  the  Council  of 
Trent ;  and  the  same  venerable  authority  commands  all  Bishops  "  tc 
take  care  that  it  be  faithfully  translated  into  the  vernacular  lan 
guage,  and  expounded  to  the  people  by  all  pastors."  l 

The  Fathers  of  the  Council  had  examined  with  patient  industry, 
and,  in  the  exercise  of  their  high  prerogative,  had  denned,  with  un 
erring  accuracy,  the  dogmas  of  faith  which  were  then  denied  or  dis 
puted  :  but  the  internal  economy  of  the  Church,  also,  solicited  and 
engaged  their  attention ;  and  accordingly,  we  find  them  employed 
in  devising  measures  for  the  instruction  of  ignorance,  the  ameliora 
tion  of  discipline,  and  the  reformation  of  morals. 

Amongst  the  means  suggested  to  their  deliberative  wisdom  for  the 
attainment  of  these  important  ends,  the  Roman  Catechism  has  been 
deemed  not  the  least  judicious  or  effective.  The  ardour  and  industry 
of  the  "  Reformers"  were  actively  employed,  not  only  in  the  publi 
cation  of  voluminous  works,  "  to  guard  against  which  required,  per 
haps,  little  labour  or  circumspection;"  but,  also,  in  composition  of 
"  innumerable  smaller  works,  which,  veiling  their  errors  under  the 
semblance  of  piety,  deceived  with  incredible  facility  the  simple  and 
the  incautious."2  To  meet  the  mischievous  activity  of  such  men, 
and  to  rear  the  edifice  of  Christian  knowledge  on  its  only  secure  and 
solid  basis,  the  instruction  of  its  authorized  teachers ;  to  afford  the 
faithful  a  fixed  standard  of  Christian  belief,  and  to  the  Pastor  a  pre 
scribed  form  of  religious  instruction  ;  to  supply  a  pure  and  perennial 
fountain  of  living  waters  to  refresh  and  invigorate  at  once  the  Pastor 

I  Cone.  Trid.  Sess.  24.  de  Reform,  cap.  7.  2  pref.  page  15 



and  the  flock,  were  amongst  the  important  objects  contemplated  by 
the  Fathers  of  Trent  in  the  publication  and  translation  of  the 
Roman  Catechism. l 

They,  too,  are  amongst  the  objects,  which  were  contemplated  by 
those,  who  urged  the  present  undertaking,  and  which  influenced  the 
Translator's  acceptance  of  the  task.  Coincidence  of  circumstances 
naturally  suggests  a  concurrence  of  measures ;  and  it  requires  little 
discernment  to  discover  the  coincidence  that  exists  between  the  pre 
sent  circumstances  of  this  country  and  those  which  awakened  and 
alarmed  the  vigilance  of  the  Fathers  of  Trent.  Ireland,  indeed  the 
Empire,  has  been  inundated  with  pernicious  tracts,  teeming  with 
vituperative  misrepresentations  of  the  dogmas  of  the  Catholic  faith, 
and  loaded  with  unmeasured  invective  against  the  principles  of 
Catholic  morality.  "  Innumerable  smaller  works,  veiling  their  errors 
under  the  semblance  of  piety,"  have  been  scattered  with  unsparing 
hand  "  amongst  the  ignorant  and  incautious :"  efforts  are  still  made 
(the  object  is  avowed)  "  to  promote  the  principles  of  the  Reforma 
tion,"  by  unsettling  the  religious  convictions  of  the  people  ;  and  we 
are  fortified  by  the  example  of  the  Fathers  of  Trent  in  the  hope,  that 
an  antidote  eminently  calculated  to  neutralize  the  poison,  which  has 
been  so  industriously  diffused,  to  abate  prejudice,  instruct  ignorance, 
promote  piety,  and  confirm  belief,  will  be  found  in  a  work  containing 
a  comprehensive  summary  of  the  dogmas  of  the  Catholic  faith,  and  a 
no  less  comprehensive  epitome  of  the  principles  of  Catholic  morality 

To  another,  and,  happily,  an  increasing  class  of  the  community, 
the  present  volume  cannot  fail  to  prove  a  useful  acquisition — to  those 
who,  anxious  only  for  truth,  desire  to  know  the  real  principles  of 
Catholics,  could  they  arrive  at  a  knowledge  of  them  through  the  me 
dium  of  a  compendious  and  authoritative  exposition.  Whilst  inquir} 
struggles  to  burst  the  bonds  in  which  prejudice  and  interested  mis 
representation  have  long  bound  up  its  freedom,  and  would  still  oppres: 
its  energies,  it  would  not  become  Catholics  to  look  on  with  in 
difference.  We  owe  it  to  truth,  to  aid  these  growing  efforts  of  en 
lightened  reason  :  the  voice  of  charity  bids  us  assist  the  exertions  of 
honest  inquiry  :  we  owe  it  to  our  ourselves  to  co-operate  in  removing 
the  load  of  obloquy  under  which  we  still  labour ;  and,  if  it  were  pos 
sible  for  us  to  be  insensible  to  these  claims,  there  is  yet  an  obligation 
from  which  nothing  can  exempt  us — it  is  due  to  religion  to  make  hei 
known  as  she  really  is.  To  these  important  ends  we  cannot,  per 
haps,  contribute  more  effectually,  than  by  placing  within  the  reach 

l  Pre£  pages  13,  14. 


of  all,  a  Work  explanatory  of  Catholic  doctrine,  and  universally  ac 
knowledged  authority  in  the  Catholic  Church. l 

To  the  Pastor,  upon  whom  devolves  the  duty  of  public  instruction, 
the  "  Catechismus  ad  Parochos"  presents  peculiar  advantages.  In  its 
pages  he  will  discover  a  rich  treasure  of  theological  knowledge,  admi 
rably  adapted  to  purposes  of  practical  utility.  The  entire  economy 
of  religion  he  will  there  find  developed  to  his  view — the  majesty  of 
God,  the  nature  of  the  divine  essence — the  attributes  of  the  Deity, 
their  transcendent  operations — the  creation  of  man,  his  unhappy 
fall — the  promise  of  a  Redeemer,  the  mysterious  and  merciful  plan 
of  redemption — the  establishment  of  the  Church,  the  marks  by  which 
it  is  to  be  known  and  distinguished — the  awful  sanction  with  which 
the  Divine  Law  is  fenced  round,  the  rewards  that  await  and  animate 
the  good,  the  punishments  that  threaten  and  awe  the  wicked — the 
nature,  number  and  necessity  of  those  supernatural  aids  instituted 
by  the  Divine  goodness  to  support  our  weakness  in  the  arduous  con. 
flict  for  salvation — the  Law  delivered  in  thunder  on  Sinai,  embracing 
the  various  duties  of  man,  under  all  the  relations  of  his  being — finally, 
the  nature,  necessity  and  conditions  of  that  heavenly  intercourse  that 
should  subsist  between  the  soul  and  its  Creator;  the  exposition  of 
that  admirable  prayer  composed  by  the  Son  of  God — all  this,  com 
prehending  as  it  does,  the  whole  substance  of  doctrinal  and  practical 
religion,  and  at  once  instructive  to  Pastor  and  people,  the  reader  will 
find  in  the  "  Catechismus  ad  Parochos,"  arranged  in  order,  expound 
ed  with  perspicuity,  and  sustained  by  convincing  argument. 

Besides  a  general  index,  one  pointing  out  the  adaptation  of  the 
several  parts  of  the  Catechism  to  the  Gospel  of  the  Sunday  will,  it  is 
hoped,  facilitate  the  duty  of  public  instruction,  and  render  this  Cate 
chism,  what  it  was  originally  intended  to  be,  the  manual  of  Pastors. 

Such  are  the  nature  and  object  of  the  present  work :  a  brief  sketch 

1  On  this  subject  the  following  ol>servations,  from  the  pen  of  a  Protestant  Clergyman,  are  as 
candid  as  they  are  just : — "  The  religion  of  the  Roman  Catholics  ought  always,  in  strictness,  to 
he  considered  apart  from  its  professors,  whether  kings,  popes,  or  inferior  bishops;  and  its  tenets, 
and  its  forms,  should  be  treated  of  separately.  To  the  acknowledged  creeds,  catechisms,  and 
other  formularies  of  the  Catholic  Church,  we  should  resort  for  a  faithful  description  of  what 
Roman  Catholics  do  really  hold,  as  doctrines  essential  to  salvation ;  and  as  such  held  by  the 
faithful  in  all  times,  places,  and  countries.  Though  the  Catholic  forms  in  some  points  may 
vary  in  number  and  splendour,  the  Catholic  doctrines  cannot; — though  opinions  may  differ, 
and  change  with  circumstances,  articles  of  faith  remain  the  same.  Without  a  due  and  constant 
consideration  of  these  facts,  no  Protestant  can  come  to  a  right  understanding  respecting  the 
essential  faith  and  worship  of  the  Roman  Catholics.  It  has  been  owing  to  a  want  of  this  dis 
crimination,  that  so  many  absurd,  and  even  wicked  tenets,  have  been  palmed  upon  our  brethren 
of  the  Catholic  Church:  that  which  they  deny,  we  have  insisted  they  religiously  hold;  that 
which  the  best  informed  amongst  them  utterly  abhor,' we  hava  held  up  to  the  detestation  of 
mankind,  as  the  guide  of  their  faith,  and  the  rule  of  their  actions.  This  is  not  fair:  it  is  not 
doing  to  olhers  as  we  would  have  others  to  do  unto  us." — The  Religions  of  all  \ations,  by  the 
Rev.  J.  Nightingale,  j.  12. 


of  its  history  must  enhance  its  worth,  and  may,  it  is  hoped,  prove  ac 
ceptable  to  the  learned  reader. 

It  has  already  been  observed,  that  the  Roman  Catechism  owes  its 
origin  to  the  zeal  and  wisdom  of  the  Fathers  of  Trent:  the  Decree 
of  the  Council  for  its  commencement  was  passed  in  the  twenty-fourth 
session ;  and  its  composition  was  confided  to  individuals  recommended, 
no  doubt,  by  their  superior  piety,  talents  and  learning.  That,  du 
ring  the  Council,  a  Congregation  had  been  appointed  for  the  execu 
tion  of  the  work,  is  matter  of  historic  evidence;1  but  whether,  be 
fore  the  close  of  the  Council,  the  work  had  actually  been  commenced, 
is  a  point  of  interesting,  but  doubtful  inquiry.2  It  is  certain,  how 
ever,  that  amongst  those  who,  under  the  superintending  care  of  the 
sainted  Archbishop  of  Milan,  were  most  actively  employed  in  its  com 
position,  are  to  be  numbered  three  learned  Dominicans,  Leonardo 
Marini,  subsequently  raised  to  the  Archiepiscopal  throne  of  Lancia- 
no, 3  Francisco  Foreiro,  the  learned  translator  of  Isaias, 4  and  -/L'gi- 
dius  Foscarrari,  Bishop  of  Modena, 5  names  not  unknown  to  history 
and  to  literature.6  Whether  to  them  exclusively  belongs  the  comple 
tion  of  the  Catechism,  or  whether  they  share  the  honour  and  the 
merit  with  others,  is  a  question  which,  about  the  middle  of  the  last 
century,  enlisted  the  zeal  and  industry  of  contending  writers.  The 
Letters  and  Orations  of  Pogianus,  published  by  Lagomarsini,  seem 
however,  to  leave  the  issue  of  the  contest  no  longer  doubtful.  Of 
these  letters  one  informs  us,  that  three  Bishops  were  appointed  by 
the  Sovereign  Pontiff  to  undertake  the  task : 7  of  the  three  Dominicans 
already  mentioned,  two  only  had  been  raised  to  the  episcopal  dignity ; 
and  hence  a  fourth  person,  at  least,  must  have  been  associated  to 
their  number  and  their  labours.  That  four  persons  had  been  actually 
appointed  by  the  Pontiff  appears  from  the  letter  of  Gratianus  to 
Cardinal  Commendon:8  and  after  much  research,  Lagomarsini  has 
discovered  that  this  fourth  person  was  Muzio  Calini,  Archbishop  of 
Zara. 9  The  erudite  and  accurate  Tiraboschi  has  arrived  at  the 

1  Pogianus,  vol.  2.  p.  xviii.  2  Palavicino,  lib.  xxiv.  c.  13. 

3  Epistolae  et  Orationes  Julii  Pogiani,  editse  a  Lagomarsini,  Romse,  1756,  vol.  2.  p.  xx. 

4  Oltrochius  de  vita  ac  rebus  gestis,  S.  Caroli  Borromsei,  lib.  1.  c.  8.  annot.  3.  apud  Pogianum, 
vol.  2.  p.  xx. 

5  Tabularium  Ecclesias  Romanes.    Leipsic,  1743. 

6  Foreiro's  translation  and  commentary  on  Isaias  may  be  seen  in  the  "  Recueil  des  grands 

7  "  Datum  est  negotium  a  Pontifice  Maximo  tribus  episcopif,"  &c.  Pog.  Ep.  et  Oral.  vol.  3. 
p.  449. 

8   "ad  earn  rein  quatuor  viros  Pius  delegit,"  &c.    Pog.  vol.  1.  p.  xvii. 

9  Calini  assisted  at  the  Council,  as  Archbishop  of  Zara,  and  died  Bishop  of  Terni,  in  1570. 
It  would  appear  from  Tiraboschi  lhat  he  belonged  to  no  religious  order.    He  is  called  "  liuomo 
di  molte  lettere  e  molta  pieta."     See  MSS.  notes  found  in  the  library  of  the  Jesuit  College  in 
Fermo;  also  MSS.  letters  of  Calini    apud  Pogian.  vol.  2.  p.  xxii.  Palav:cino  Istoria  del  C.  di 
Trento,  1. 15.  c.  13 


same  conclusion  :  he  expressly  numbers  Calini  amongst  the  authors 
of  the  Roman  Catechism. l  The  MSS.  notes,  to  which  Largomarsini 
refers  in  proof  of  this  opinion,  mention,  itis  true,  the  names  of  Galesinus 
and  Pogianus  with  that  of  Calini :  Pogianus,  it  is  universally  acknow 
ledged,  had  no  share  in  the  composition  of  the  work ;  and  the  passage, 
therefore,  must  have  reference  solely  to  its  style.  With  this  inter 
pretation,  the  mention  of  Calini  does  not  conflict;  the  orations  delivered 
by  him  in  the  Council  of  Trent  prove,  that  in  elegance  of  Latinity 
he  was  little  inferior  to  Pogianus  himself;  and  the  style,  therefore, 
might  also  have  employed  the  labour  of  his  pen. 

Other  names  are  mentioned  as  possessing  claims  to  the  honour  of 
having  contributed  to  the  composition  of  the  Trent  Catechism, 
amongst  which  are  those  of  Cardinal  Seripandus,  Archbishop  of  Sa 
lerno,  and  legate  at  the  Council  to  Pius  the  Fourth,  Michael  Medina, 
and  Cardinal  Antoniano,  secretary  to  Pius  the  Fifth;  but  Tiraboschi 
omits  to  notice  their  pretensions;  and  my  inquiries  have  not  been 
rewarded  with  a  single  authority  competent  to  impeach  the  justness 
of  the  omission.  Their  names,  that  of  Medina  excepted,  he  frequently 
introduces  throughout  his  history;  in  no  instance,  however,  does  he 
intimate  that  they  had  any  share  in  the  composition  of  the  Roman 
Catechism  ;  and  his  silence,  therefore,  lam  disposed  to  interpret  as  a 
denial  of  their  claim. 

The  work,  when  completed,2  was  presented  to  Pius  the  Fifth,  and 
was  handed  over  by  his  holiness  for  revisal  to  a  Congregation,  over 
which  presided  the  profound  and  judicious  Cardinal  Sirlet. 3  The 
style,  according  to  some,  was  finally  retouched  by  Paulus  Manutius;1 
according  to  others,  and  the  opinion  is  more  probable,  it  owes  this 
last  improvement  to  the  classic  pen  of  Pogianus. 5  Its  uniformity, 
(the  observation  is  Lagomarsini's)  and  its  strong  resemblance  to  that 
of  the  other  works  of  Pogianus,  depose  in  favour  of  the  superiority 
of  his  claim. 6  The  work  was  put  to  press  under  the  vigilant  eye  of 
the  laborious  and  elegant  Manutius,7  published  by  authority  of  Piu» 
the  Fifth,  and  by  command  of  the  Pontiff  translated  into  the  lan- 

1  See  Tiraboschi  Storia  della  Letteratura  Italiana,  T.  vii.  part  1.  p.  304,  ?08.  vid.  Script.  Oniin 
Prffidir-.  vol.  228.  Romas,  1784. 

2  It  was  finished  anno  1564.  Catechismum  habemus  jam  absolutum,  &c.  Letter  of  S.  Charlos 
Borromeo  to  Cardinal  Hosius,  dated  December  27th,  1564,  Pog.  2.  Ivii. 

3  Ibid.    To  Cardinal  Sirlet,  Biblical  literature  owes  the  varies  lectiones  in  the  Antwerpian 

4'Graveson  Hist.  Eccl.  T.  7.  p.  156.  Ed.  Venet.  1738.  Apostolus  Zeuo.  Anotat.  in  I'jbl.  Eloz 
Ital.  T.  11.  p.  136.  Ed.  Venet.  1733. 

*  Lagomareini  Not.  in  Gratian.  Epist.  ad  Card.  Commend.  Romoe,  1750 

•  Vol.  2.  p.  xxxiv.  '  Pog.  vol.  2.  p.  xxxix 



guages  of  Italy,  France,  Germany,  and  Poland. l  To  the  initiated  no 
apology  is,  I  trust,  necessary  for  this  analysis  of  a  controversy  which 
the  Translator  could  not,  with  propriety,  pass  over  in  silence,  and  on 
which  so  much  of  laborious  research  has  been  expended.  To 
detail,  however,  the  numerous  approvals  that  hailed  the  publication 
of  the  work,  recommended  its  perusal,  and  promoted  its  circulation, 
would,  perhaps,  rather  fatigue  the  patience,  than  interest  the  curio 
sity  of  the  reader. 2  Enough,  that  its  merits  were  then,  as  they  are 
now,  recognised  by  the  Universal  Church;  and  the  place  given 
amongst  the  masters  of  spiritual  life  to  the  devout  A'Kempis, "  second 
only,"  says  Fontenelle,  "  to  the  books  of  the  canonical  Scripture," 
has  been  unanimously  awarded  to  the  Catechism  of  the  Council  of 
Trent,  as  a  compendium  of  Catholic  theology. 

Thus,  undertaken  by  decree  of  the  Council  of  Trent,  the  result  of 
the  aggregate  labours  of  the  most  distinguished  of  the  Fathers  who 
composed  that  august  assembly,  revised  by  the  severe  judgment,  and 
polished  by  the  classic  taste  of  the  first  scholars  of  that  classic  age, 
the  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent  is  stamped  with  the  impress 
of  superior  worth,  and  challenges  the  respect  and  veneration  of 
every  reader. 

In  estimating  so  highly  the  merits  of  the  original,  it  has  not,  however, 
escaped  the  Translator's  notice,  that  a  work  purely  theological  and 
didactic,  treated  in  a  severe,  scholastic  form,  and,  therefore,  not 
recommended  by  the  more  ambitious  ornaments  of  style,  must  prove 
uninviting  to  those  who  seek  to  be  amused,  rather  than  to  be  instruct 
ed.  The  judicious  reader  will  not  look  for  such  recommendation 
the  character  of  the  work  precludes  the  idea :  perspicuity,  and  an 
elaborate  accuracy,  are  the  leading  features  of  the  original;  and  the 
Translator  is,  at  least,  entitled  to  the  praise  of  not  having  aspired  to 
higher  excellencies.  To  express  the  entire  meaning  of  the  author, 
attending  rather  to  the  sense,  than  to  the  r  umber  of  his  words,  is 
the  rule  by  which  the  Roman  Orator  was  guided  in  his  translation 
of  the  celebrated  orations  of  the  two  rival  orators  of  Greece.3  From 
this  general  rule,  however  just,  and  favourable  to  elegance,  the  Trans- 

1  It  was  printed  by  Manutius  before  the  end  of  July.  1566,  but  not  published  until  the  Se,p- 
tember  following,  when  a  folio  and  quarto  edition  appeared  at  the  same  time,  accompanied 
with  an  Italian  translation,  from  the  pen  of  P.  Alessio  Figgliucci,  O.  P.  Sabutin.  in  vita  Pii,  V. 
Pog.  vol.  2.  xl. 


Bourdeaux,  1583;  of  Tours,  1583 ;  of  Rheims,  1583;  of  Tolouse,  1590;  of  Avignon,  1594 ;'  of 
Aquiieia,  1586,  &c.  &c. 
*  De  opt.  gen.  oral.  n.  14. 


lator  has  felt  it  a  conscientious  duty  not  unfrequently  to  depart,  in 
the  translation  of  a  work,  the  phraseology  of  which  is  in  so  many 
instances,  consecrated  by  ecclesiastical  usage.  Whilst,  therefore,  he 
has  endeavoured  to  preserve  the  spirit,  he  has  been  unwilling  to  lose 
sight  of  the  letter;  studious  to  avoid  a  servile  exactness,  he  has  not 
felt  himself  at  liberty  to  indulge  the  freedom  of  paraphrase  :  anxious 
to  transfuse  into  the  copy  the  spirit  of  the  original,  he  has  been  no  less 
anxious  to  render  it  an  express  image  of  that  original.  The  reader, 
perhaps,  will  blame  his  severity :  his  fidelity,  he  trusts,  may  defy 
reproof;  and  on  it  he  rests  his  only  claim  to  commendation. 

By  placing  the  work,  in  its  present  form,  before  the  public,  the 
Translator  trusts  he  shall  have  rendered  some  service  to  the  cause 
of  religion :  should  this  pleasing  anticipation  be  realized,  he  will  deem 
the  moments  of  leisure  devoted  to  it  well  spent,  and  the  reward  more 
than  commensurate  to  his  humble  labours. 


Juna  10th,  1829. 





SUCH  is  the  nature  of  the  human  mind,  so  limited  are  its  in- 
lellectual  powers,  that,  although  by  means  of  diligent  and  labori-  man     rea 
oire  inquiry  it  has  been  enabled  of  itself  to  investigate  and  dis-  so 
cover  many  divine  truths  ;  yet  guided  solely  by  its  own  lights  it 
could  never  know  or  comprehend  most  of  those  things  by  which 
eternal  salvation,  the  principal  end  of  man's  creation  and  forma 
tion  to  the  image  and  likeness  of  God,  is  attained.     "  The  invi-  r!ecessity 

of  reve 

sible  things  of  God,  from  the  creation  of  the  world,  are,"  as  the  lation 
Apostle  teaches,  "  clearly  seen,  being  understood  by  the  things 
that  are  made  :  his  eternal  power  also  and  divinity."1  But  "  the 
mystery  which  had  been  hidden  from  ages  and  generations"  so 
far  transcends  the  reach  of  man's  understanding,  that  were  it  not 
"  manifested  to  his  saints  to  whom  God,"  by  the  gift  of  faith, 
"  would  make  known  the  riches  of  the  glory  of  this  mystery, 
amongst  the  Gentiles,  which  is  Christ,"2  it  had  never  been  given 
to  human  research  to  aspire  to  such  wisdom 

But,  as  "  faith  cometh  by  hearing,"3  the  necessity  of  the  assi-  And  of  au 
duous  labour  and  faithful  ministry  of  a  legitimate  teacher,  at  all 
times,  towards  the  attainment  of  eternal  salvation  is  manifest,  for 
it  is  written,  "how  shall  they  hear  without  a  preacher?  And 
how  shall  they  preach  unless  they  be  sent?"4  And,  indeed, 
never,  from  the  very  creation  of  the  world,  has  God  most  merciful 
and  benignant  been  wanting  to  his  own  ;  but  "  at  sundry  times 
ami  in  divers  manners  spoke,  in  times  past,  to  the  Fathers  by  the 

Rom.  i.  20.          2  Coloss.  i.  26,  27.  3  Rom.  x.  17  4  Rom  x  14>  ir, 

2  13 


Prophets  ;" l  and  pointed  out,  in  a  manner  suited  to  the  times  and 
circumstances,  a  sure  and  direct  path  to  the  happiness  of  heaven. 
But,  as  he  had  foretold  that  he  would  give  a  teacher,  "  to  be  the 
light  of  the  Gentiles  and  salvation  to  the  ends  of  the  earth  ;"3 
"  in  these  days  he  hath  spoken  to  us  by  his  Son,"3  whom  also 
by  a  voice  from  heaven,  "  from  the  excellent  glory,"4  he  has 
commanded  all  to  hear  and  to  obey  ;  and  the  Son  "  hath  given 
some  apostles,  and  some  prophets,  and  others  evangelists,  and 
others  pastors  and  teachers,"5  to  announce  the  word  of  life;  that 
we  be  not  carried  about  like  children  with  every  wind  of  doc 
trine,  but  Irolding  fast  to  the  firm  foundation  of  the  faith,  "  may 
be  built  together  into  a  habitation  of  God  in  the  Holy  Ghost."0 
The  pas-  That  none  may  receive  the  word  of  God  from  the  ministers 
Church  to  of  the  Church  as  the  word  of  man,  but  as  the  word  of  Christ, 
be  heard.  w|iaj  j^  really  is  $  the  same  Saviour  has  ordained  that  their  mi 
nistry  should  be  invested  Avith  such  authority  that  he  says  to 
them  ;  "  he  that  hears  you,  hears  me ;  and  he  that  despises  you, 
despises  me  ;"7  a  declaration  which  he  would  not  be  understood 
to  make  to  those  only  to  whom  his  words  were  addressed,  but 
likewise  to  all  who,  by  legitimate  succession,  should  discharge 
the  ministry  of  the  word,  promising  to  be  with  them  "  all  days, 
even  to  the  consummation  of  the  world."8 

Peculiar         As  this  preaching  of  the  divine  word  should  never  be  inter- 

cf  pastoral  rupted  in  the  Church  of  God,  so  in  these  our  days  it  becomes 

instruction  necessary  to  labour  with  more  than  ordinary  zeal  and  piety  to 

days.         nurture  and  strengthen  the   faithful  with  sound  and  wholesome 

doctrine,  as  with  the  food  of  life :  for  "  false  prophets  have  gone 

forth  into  the  world"9  "  with  various  and  strange  doctrines"10    to 

corrupt  the  minds  of  the  faithful ;  of  whom  the  Lord  hath  said 

Activity     "  I  sent  them  not,  and  they  ran  ;  I  spoke  not  to  them,  yet  they 

"  Reform-  prophesied.""       In  this  unholy  work,  to  such  extremes  has  their 

impiety,  practised  in  all  the  arts  of  Satan,  been  carried,  that  it 

would  seem  almost  impossible  to  confine  it  within  bounds  ;  and 

did  we  not  rely  on  the   splendid  promises  of  the  Saviour,  who 

declared  that  he  had  "  built  his  Church  on  so  solid  a  foundation, 

that  the  gates  of  hell  should  never  prevail  against  it,'"2    we  should 

be  filled  with   most  alarming  apprehension  lest,  beset  on  every 

side  by  such  a  host  of  enemies,  assailed  by  so  many  and  such 

formidable  engines,  the  Church  of  God  should,  in  these  days, 

fall  beneath  their  combined  efforts.     To  omit  those   illustrious 

i  Heb.  i.  1.  2  Is.  xlix.  6.  =»  Heb.  i.  2.  4  2  Pet.  i.  17. 

5  Eph.  iv.  11.  6  Eph.  ii.  22.  7  Luke  x.  16.  *  Matt  xxviii.  20. 

9  1  John  iv.  1.  10  Heb.  xiii.  9.          "  Jerem.  xxiii.  21.    '2  Matt.  xvi.  18. 


states  which  heretofore  professed,  in  piety  and  holiness,  the  Ca 
tholic  faith  transmitted  to  them  by  their  ancestors,  but  are  no  * 
gone  astray,  wandering  from  the  paths  of  truth,  and  openly  de 
claring  that  their  best  claims  of  piety  are  founded  on  a  total 
abandonment  of  the  faith  of  their  fathers  :  there  is  no  region 
however  remote,  no  place  however  securely  guarded,  no  corner 
of  the  Christian  republic,   into  which   this  pestilence  has  not 
sought   secretly  to    insinuate   itself.     Those,  who  proposed  to 
themselves  to  corrupt  the  minds  of  the  faithful,  aware  that  they 
could  not  hold  immediate  personal  intercourse  with  all,  and  thus 
pour  into  their  ears  their  poisoned  doctrines,  by  adopting  a  dif 
ferent  plan,  disseminated  error  and  impiety  more  easily  and  ex 
tensively.     Besides  those    voluminous  works,    by   which    they 
sought  the  subversion  of  the  Catholic   faith  ;  to  guard  against 
which,  however,  containing,  as  they  did,  open  heresy,  required, 
perhaps,  little  labour  or  circumspection  ;  they  also  composed  in 
numerable  smaller  books,  which,  veiling  their  errors  under  the 
semblance  of  piety,  deceived  with  incredible  facility  the  simple 
and  the  incautious. 

The  Fathers,  therefore,  of  the  general  Council  of  Trent,  anx-  Object  and 
ious  to  apply  some  healing  remedy  to  an  evil  of  such  magnitude,  ontm^ 
were  not  satisfied  with  having  decided  the  more  important  points  work 
of  Catholic  doctrine  against  the  heresies  of  our  times,  but  deem 
ed  it  further  necessary  to  deliver  some  fixed  form  of  instructing 
the  faithful  in  the  truths  of  religion  from  the  very  rudiments  of 
Christian  knowledge ;  a  form  to  be  followed  by  those  to  whom 
are  lawfully  intrusted  the  duties  of  pastor  and  teacher.     In  works 
of  this  sort  many,  it  is  true,  have  already  employed  their  pens, 
and  earned   the  reputation  of  great  piety  and  learning.      The 
Fathers,  however,  deemed  it  of  the  first  importance  that  a  work 
should  appear,  sanctioned  by  the  authority  of  the  Holy  Synod, 
from  which  pastors  and  all  others  on  whom  the  duty  of  impart' 
ing  instruction  devolves,  may  draw  with  security  precepts  for  the 
edification  of  the  faithful ;  that  as  there  is  "one  Lord,  one  iaith  "  ' 
there  may  also  be  one  standard  and  prescribed  form  of  propound 
ing  the  dogmas  of  faith,  and  instructing  Christians  in  all  the  du 
ties  of  piety. 

As,  therefore,  the  design  of  the  work  embraces  a  variety  of  IH 
matter,  the  Holy  Synod  cannot  be  supposed  to  have  intended  to  " 
comprise,  in  one  volume,  all  the  dogmas  of  Christianity,  with  that 
minuteness  of  detail  to  be  found  in  the  works  of  those  who  pro- 

1  Eph.  iv.  5. 



fess  to  treat  of  all  the  institutions  and  doctrines  of  religion.  Such 
a  task  would  be  one  of  almost  endless  labour,  and  manifestly  ill- 
suited  to  attain  the  proposed  end.  But,  having  undertaken  to 
instruct  pastors  and  such  as  ha^e  care  of  souls  in  those  things  that 
belong  peculiarly  to  the  pastoral  office  and  are  accommodated  to 
the  capacity  of  the  faithful  ;  the  Holy  Synod  intended  that  such 
things  only  should  be  treated  of  as  might  assist  the  pious  zeal  of 
pastors  in  discharging  the  duty  of  instruction,  should  they  not  be 
very  familiar  with  the  more  abstruse  questions  of  theological  dis 

Principal         Such  being  the  nature  and  object  of  the  present    work,   its 
observed  &  °r(^er  requires  that,  before  we  proceed  to  develope  those  things 

by  the  Pas-  severally  which  comprise  a  summary  of  this  doctrine,  we  pre- 

tor  in  com-  J 

municating  mise  a  few  observations  explanatory  of  the  considerations  which 

'"'  should  form  the  primary  object  of  the  pastor's  attention,  and 
which  he  should  keep  continually  before  his  eyes,  in  order  to 
know  to  what  end,  as  it  were,  all  his  views  and  labours  and  stu 
dies  are  to  be  directed,  and  how  this  end,  which  he  proposes  to 
himself,  may  be  facilitated  and  attained. 

First.  The  first  is  always  to  recollect  that  in  this  consists  all  Chris 

tian  knowledge,  or  rather,  to  use  the  words  of  the  Apostle,  "  this 
is  eternal  life,  to  know  thee,  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ 
whom  thou  hast  sent."  1  A  teacher  in  the  Church  will,  there 
fore,  use  his  best  endeavours  that  the  faithful  desire  earnestly  "  to 
know  Jesus  Christ  and  him  crucified,"2  that  they  be  firmly  con 
vinced,  and  with  the  most  heart-felt  piety  and  devotion  believe, 
that  "  there  is  no  other  name  under  heaven  given  to  men  whereby 
they  can  be  saved,"3  for  he  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins."4 

Second.  But  as  "  by  this  we  know  that  we  have  known  him,  if  we  keep 

his  commandments,"5  the  next  consideration,  and  one  intimately 
connected  with  the  preceding,  is  —  to  press  also  upon  their  atten 
tion  that  their  lives  are  not  to  be  wasted  in  ease  and  indolence, 
but  that  "  we  are  to  walk  even  as  Christ  walked,"6  "  and  pursue," 
with  unremitting  earnestness,  "  justice,  godliness,  faith,  charity, 
patience,  mildness  ;"7  for,  "  he  gave  himself  for  us,  that  he  might 
redeem  us  from  all  iniquity,  and  might  cleanse  to  himself  a  people 
acceptable,  a  pursuer  of  good  works."8  These  things  the  Apostle 
commands  pastors  to  speak  and  to  exhort. 

Third.  But  as  our  Lord  and  Saviour  has  not  only  declared,  but  has 

also  proved  by  his  own  example,  that  "  the  Law  and  the  Prophets 

i  John  xvii.  3.  2  i  Cor.  ii.  2.  *  Acts  iv.  12.  4  ]  J0hr.  ii.  2. 

*  1  John  ii.  3.  6  l  John  ii.  6.          ^  I  Tim.  vi.  11.         8  Tit.  ii.  14. 


depend  on  love,"  1  and  as,  according  to  the  Apostle,  charity  is 
the  end  of  the  commandments,  and  the  fulfilment  of  the  law,* 
it  is  unquestionably  a  paramount  duty  of  the  pastor,  to  use  the 
utmost  assiduity  to  excite  the  faithful  to  a  love  of  the  infinite 
goodness  of  God  towards  us  ;  that  burning  with  a  sort  of  divine 
ardour,  they  may  be  powerfully  attracted  to  the  supreme  and  all 
perfect  good,  to  adhere  to  which  is  true  and  solid  happiness,  as 
is  fully  experienced  by  him  who  can  say  with  the  Prophet ; 
"  What  have  I  in  heaven  but  thee  ?  and  besides  thee  what  do  I 
desire  upon  earth  ?»3  This,  assuredly,  is  that  more  excellent 
way4  pointed  out  by  the  Apostle,  when  he  refers  all  his  doc 
trines  and  instructions  to  charity  which  never  faileth;"*  for 
whatever  is  proposed  by  the  pastor,  whether  it  be  the  exercise 
of  faith,  of  hope,  or  of  some  moral  virtue  ;  the  love  of  God  should 
be  so  strongly  insisted  upon  by  him,  as  to  show  clearly  that  all 
the  works  of  perfect  Christian  virtue  can  have  no  other  origin,  no 
other  end  than  divine  love  6 

But  as  in  imparting  instruction  of  any  sort,  the  manner  of  Fourth, 
communicating  it  is  of  considerable  importance,  so  in  conveying 
instruction  to  the  people,  it  should  be  deemed  of  the  greatest 
moment.— Age,  capacity,  manners  and  condition  demand  atten 
tion,  that  he,  who  instructs,  may  become  all  things  to  all  men,  and 
be  able  to  gain  all  to  Christ,'  and  prove  himself  a  faithful  minis 
ter  and  steward,"  and,  like  a  good  and  faithful  servant,  be  found 
worthy  to  be  placed  by  his  Lord  over  many  things.9     Nor  let 
him  imagine  that  those  committed  to  his  care  are  all  of  equal 
capacity  or  like  dispositions,  so  as  to  enable  him  to  apply  the 
same  course  of  instruction,  to  lead  all  to  knowledge  and  piety; 
for  some  are,  «  as  it  were  new-born  infants,"     others  grown  up 
in  Christ,  and  others  in  some  sort,  of  full  maturity.     Hence  the 
necessity  of  considering  who  they  are  that  have  occasion  for 
ulk,  who  for  more  solid  food,  »  and  of  affording  to  each  such 
nutriment  of  doctrine  as  may  give  spiritual  increase,  "  until  we 
11  meet  in  the  unity  of  faith,  and  of  the  knowledge  of  the  Son 
God  into  a  perfect  man,  into  the  measure  of  the  age  of  the 
fulness  of  Christ."  »     This  the  example  of  the  Apostle  points 
out  to  the  observance  of  all,  for,  «  he  is  a  debtor  to  the  Greek 
and  the  Barbarian,  to  the  wise  and  to  the  unwise  :"  13  thus  giving 
all  who  are  called  to  this  ministry,  to  understand  that  in  announ- 


cing  the  mysteries  of  faith,  and  inculcating  the  precepts  of 
morality,  the  instruction  is  to  be  accommodated  to  the  capacity 
and  intelligence  of  the  hearers  ;  that,  whilst  the  minds  of  the 
strong  are  filled  with  spiritual  food,  the  little  ones  be  not  suffered 
to  perish  with  hunger,  "  asking  for  bread,  whilst  there  is  none 
to  break  it  to  them."  1 

Fifth  Nor  should  our  zeal  in  communicating  Christian  knowledge 

be  relaxed,  because  it  is  sometimes  to  be  exercised  in  expounding 
matters  apparently  humble  and  unimportant,  and,  therefore,  com 
paratively  uninteresting  to  minds  accustomed  to  repose  in  the 
contemplation  of  the  more  sublime  truths  of  religion.  If  the 
wisdom  of  the  eternal  Father  descended  upon  the  earth  in  the 
meanness  of  our  flesh,  to  teach  "«s  the  maxims  of  a  heavenly  life, 
who  is  there  whom  the  love  of  Christ  does  not  compel  2  to  be 
come  little  in  the  midst  of  his  brethren  ;  and,  as  a  nurse  fostering 
her  children,  so  anxiously  to  wish  for  the  salvation  of  his  neigh 
bour,  that  as  the  Apostle  testifies  of  himself,  he  desires  to  deliver 
not  only  the  Gospel  of  Jesus  Christ  to  them,  but  even  his  own 
life  for  them.3 

Where  the       But  all  the  doctrines  of  Christianity,  in  which  the  faithful  are 
dfCChristi    to  be  instructed>  are  derived  from  the  word  of  God,  which  includes 
anity  are      Scripture  and  tradition.     To  the  study  of  these,  therefore,  the 
''   pastor  should  devote  his  days  and  his  nights,  always  keeping  in 
mind  the  admonition  of  St.  Paul  to  Timothy,  which  all  who 
have  the  care  of  souls  should  consider  as  addressed  to  themselves ; 
"Attend  to  reading,  to   exhortation,   and  to  doctrine,4    for  all 
Scripture  divinely  inspired,  is  profitable  to  teach,  to  reprove,  to 
correct,  to  instruct  in  justice,  that  the  man  of  God  may  be  per 
fect,  furnished  to  every  good  work."  5 

Division  of  But  as  the  truths  revealed  by  Almighty  God,  are  so  many  and 
the  work.  ^  var[OUS)  as  to  render  it  no  easy  task  to  comprehend  them,  or, 
having  comprehended  them,  to  retain  so  distinct  a  recollection  ot 
them  as  to  be  able  to  explain  them  with  ease  and  promptitude 
when  occasion  may  require ;  our  predecessors  in  the  faith  have 
very  wisely  reduced  them  to  these  four  heads — The  Apostle's 
Creed — The  Sacraments — The  ten  Commandments — and  the 
First  part.  Lord's  Prayer.  The  Creed  contains  all  that  is  to  be  held  accord 
ing  to  the  discipline  of  the  Christian  faith,  whether  it  regard  the 
knowledge  of  God,  the  creation  and  government  of  the  world; 
or  the  redemption  of  man,  the  rewards  of  the  good  and  the  pu- 

1  Heb.  v.  14.    Lamen.  iv.  4.  2  2  Cor.  v.  14.  3  1  Thess.  ii.  7,  8. 

4  1  Tim.  iv.  13.  5  2  Tim.  iii.  '.  6,  17 


nishments  of  the  wicked.  The  doctrine  of  the  seven  Sacraments  Second 
comprehends  the  signs,  and,  as  it  were,  the  instruments  of  grace. 
The  Decalogue,  whatever  has  reference  to  the  law,  "  the  end  Third  Part 
whereof  is  charity."  1   Finally,  the  Lord's  Prayer  contains  what-  Fourth 
ever  can  be  the  object  of  the  Christian's  desires,  or  hopes,  or 
prayers.     The  exposition,  therefore,  of  these,  as  it  were,  com 
mon-places  of  sacred  Scripture,  includes  almost  every  thing  to 
be  known  by  a  Christian. 

We,  therefore,  deem  it  proper  to  acquaint  pastors  that,  when-  ^PP1  QCfajhe 
ever  they  have  occasion,   in    the    ordinary    discharge    of  their  Catechism 
duty,  to  expound  any  passage  of  the  Gospel,  or  any  other  part  pel  of  the 
of  Scripture,   they  will  find  its  substance  under  some  one  of   fcmnday- 
the   four  heads  already  enumerated,  to  which  they  will  recur, 
as  the  source  from  which  their  exposition  is  to  be  drawn.     Thus, 
if  the  Gospel  of  the  first  Sunday  of  Advent  is  to  be  explained, 
"  There  shall  be  signs  in  the  sun  and  in  the  moon,  &c.  2  what 
ever  regards  its  explanation  is  contained  under  the  article  of  the 
creed,  "  He  shall  come  to  judge  the  living  and  the  dead,"  and  by 
imbodying  the  substance  of  that  article  in  his  exposition,  the  pas 
tor  will  at  once  instruct  his  people  in  the  creed  and  in  the  Gos 
pel.     Whenever,  therefore,  he  has  to  communicate  instruction 
and  expound  the  Scriptures,  he  will  observe  the  same  rule  of  re 
ferring  all  to  these  four  principal  heads,  which,  as  we  have  alrea 
dy  observed,  comprise  the  whole  force  and  doctrine   of  Holy 

He  will,  however,  observe  that  order  which  he  deems  best  V]^.ywh£e 
suited  to  persons,   times  and   circumstances.      Walking  in  the  the  expla- 
footsteps  of  the  Fathers,  who  to  initiate  men  in  Christ  the  Lord  the'cre'ed. 
and  instruct  them  in  his  discipline  begin  with  the  doctrine  of 
faith,  we  have  deemed  it  useful  to  explain  first  in  order  what  ap 
pertains  to  faith. 

As  the  word  faith  has  a  variety  of  meanings  in  the  Sacred  J£j!J^ 
Scriptures,  it  may  not  be  unnecessary  to  observe  that  here  we  here, 
speak  of  that  faith  by  which  we  yield  our  entire  assent  to  what 
ever  has  been  revealed  by  Almighty  God.     That  faith  thus  un 
derstood  is  necessary  to  salvation  no  man  can  reasonably  doubt ; 
particularly    as   the   Sacred    Scriptures    declare  that  "  Without 
faith  it  is  impossible  to  please  God."  3     For  as  the  end  proposed 
to   man    as    his    ultimate    happiness    is    far   above    the    reach 
of  the  human  understanding,  it  was,  therefore,  necessary  that  it 
should  be  made  known  to  him  by  Almighty  God.     This  know- 

1 1  Tim.  i.  5.  22  Luke  xxi.  25.  3  Heb.  xi.  6. 


ledge  is  nothing  else  than  faith,  by  which  we  yield  our  unhesita 
ting  assent  to  whatever  the  authority  of  our  Holy  Mother  the 
Church  teaches  us  to  have  been  revealed  by  Almighty  God :  for 
the  faithful  cannot  doubt  those  things  of  which  God,  who  is  truth 
itself,  is  the  author.  Hence  we  see  the  great  difference  that  exist* 
between  this  faith  which  we  give  to  God,  and  the  credence  which 
we  yield  to  profaiie  historians.  But  faith,  though  comprehen 
sive,  and  differing  in  degree  and  dignity,  [for  we  read  in  Scrip- 
ture  these  words,"  O  thou  of  little  faith,  why  didst  thou  doubt"' 
and  "great  is  thy  faith," 2  and"  Increase  our  faith,"3  also 
"  Faith  without  works  is  dead"4  and  "  Faith  which  worketh  by 
charity;*"]  is  yet  the  same  in  kind,  and  the  full  force  of  its 
definition  applies  equally  to  all  its  degrees.  Its  fruit  and  advan 
tages  to  us,  we  shall  point  out  when  explaining  the  articles  of 
the  Creed.  The  first,  then,  and  most  important  points  of  Chris 
tian  faith  are  those  which  the  holy  Apostles,  the  great  leaders  and 
teachers  of  the  faith,  men  inspired  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  have  divi- 
The  Creed  ded  into  the  twelve  articles  of  the  Creed :  for  as  they  had  re- 

whydCbm"  ceived  a  command  from  the  Lord  to  go  forth  "  int°  the  Wh°le 
\h?ApL  world,"  "  as  his  ambassadors,  and  preach  the  Gospel  to  every 
creature,  6  they  thought  proper  to  compose  a  form  of  Christian 
faith,  "  that  all  may  speak  and  think  the  same  thing ;"  7  and 
that  amongst  those  whom  they  should  have  called  to  the  unity 
of  faith,  no  schisms  should  exist ;  but  that  they  should  be  per 
fect  in  the  same  mind,  and  in  the  same  spirit.  This  profession 
of  Christian  faith  and  hope,  drawn  up  by  themselves,  the  Apos 
tles  called  a  "  symbol,"  either  because  it  was  an  aggregate  of  the 
combined  sentiments  of  all ;  or  because,  by  it,  as  by  a  common 
sign  and  watch-word,  they  might  easily  distinguish  false  bre 
thren,  deserters  from  the  faith,  "  unawares  brought  in,"  '  "  who 
adultered  the  word  of  God,"9  from  those  who  had  pledged  an 
oath  of  fidelity  to  serve  under  the  banner  of  Christ. 

i  Matt.  TIV  31.  2  Matt.  xv.  28.  »  Luke  xvii.  5.  «  James  ii.  17. 

6  Gal.  v.  6  62  Cor.  v.  18, 19,  20.    Mark  xvi.  15          ?  1  Cor.  1. 10. 

e  Gal.  ii.4.  9  2  Cor.  11. 17. 









AMONGST  the  many  truths  which  Christianity  proposes  to  our  Division  ot 
belief,  and  of  which  separately,  or  collectively,  an  assured  and  the  Creed- 
firm  faith  is  necessary,  the  first  and  one  essential  to  be  believed 
by  all,  is  that  which  God  himself  has  taught  us  as  the  foundation 
of  truth,  and  which  is  a  summary  of  the  unity  of  the  divine 
essence,  of  the  distinction  of  three  persons,  and  of  the  actions 
which  are  peculiarly  attributed  to  each.  The  pastor  will  inform 
the  people  that  the  Apostles'  Creed  briefly  comprehends  the  doc 
trine  of  this  mystery.  For,  as  has  been  observed  by  our  prede 
cessors  in  the  faith,  who  in  treating  this  subject,  have  given  proofs 
at  once  of  piety  and  accuracy,  the  Creed  seems  to  be  divided  into 
three  principal  parts,  one  describing  the  first  Person  of  the  di 
vine  nature,  and  the  stupendous  work  of  the  creation — another, 
the  second  Person,  and  the  mystery  of  man's  redemption — a 
third,  comprising  in  several  most  appropirate  sentences,  the  doc 
trine  of  the  third  Person,  the  head  and  source  of  our  sanctification. 
These  sentences  are  called  articles,  by  a  sort  of  comparison  fre 
quently  used  by  our  forefathers  ;  for  as  the  members  of  the  body 
are  divided  by  joints  (articulis)  so  in  this  profession  of  faith, 
whatever  is  to  be  believed  distinctly  and  separately  from  any 
thing  else,  is  appositely  called  an  article. 

"  I  BELIEVE  IN  GOD."]  The  meaning  of  these  words  is  this  ;  Import  of 
1  believe  with  certainty,  and  without  a  shadow  of  doubt  profess  j;he  word* 
my  belief  in  God  the  Father,  the  first  person  of  the  Trinity,  who  " 


•>f  Faith. 


Open  pro 
fession  of. 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

by  his  omnipotence  created  from  nothing,  preserves  and  governs 
the  heavens  and  the  earth,  and  all  things  which  they  encompass  : 
and  not  only  do  I  believe  in  him  from  my  heart,  and  profess  this 
belief  with  my  lips,  but  with  the  greatest  ardour  and  piety  tend 
towards  him,  as  the  supreme  and  most  perfect  good.  Let  it  suf 
fice  thus  briefly  to  state  the  substance  of  this  first  article  :  but  as 
great  mysteries  lie  concealed  under  almost  every  word,  the  pas 
tor  must  now  give  them  a  more  minute  consideration,  in  order 
that,  as  far  as  God  has  permitted,  the  faithful  may  approach, 
with  fear  and  trembling,  the  contemplation  of  the  glory  of  the 
divine  Majesty. 

The  word  "  believe,"  therefore,  does  not  here  mean  "  to 
think,"  "  to  imagine,"  "  to  be  of  opinion,"  but,  as  the  Sacred 
Scriptures  teach,  it  expresses  the  deepest  conviction  of  the  mind, 
by  which  we  give  a  firm  and  unhesitating  assent  to  God  reveal 
ing  his  mysterious  truths.  As  far,  therefore,  as  regards  the  use 
of  the  word  here ;  he,  who  firmly  and  without  hesitation  is  con 
vinced  of  any  thing,  is  said  "to  believe."  :  Nor  is  the  know 
ledge  derived  through  faith  to  be  considered  less  certain,  because 
its  objects  are  not  clearly  comprehended  ;  for  the  divine  light  in 
which  we  see  them,  although  it  does  not  render  them  evident, 
yet  sheds  around  them  such  a  lustre  as  leaves  no  doubt  on  the 
mind  regarding  them.  "  For  God,  who  commanded  the  light  to 
shine  out  of  darkness,  hath  shone  in  our  hearts,"2  "  that  the 
Gospel  be  not  hidden  to  us,  as  to  those  that  perish."  3 

From  what  has  been  said,  it  follows  that  he  who  is  gifted  with 
this  heavenly  knowledge  of  faith,  is  free  from  an  inquisitive  cu 
riosity  ;  for  when  God  commands  us  to  believe,  he  does  not  pro 
pose  to  us  to  search  into  his  divine  judgments,  or  inquire  into 
their  reasons  and  their  causes,  but  demands  an  immutable  faith, 
by  the  efficacy  of  which,  the  mind  reposes  in  the  knowledge  of 
eternal  truth.  And  indeed,  if,  whilst  we  have  the  testimony  of 
the  Apostle,  that"  God  is  true  and  every  man  a  liar;"4  it  would 
argue  arrogance  and  presumption  to  disbelieve  the  asseveration 
of  a  grave  and  sensible  man  affirming  any  thing  as  true,  and  urge 
him  to  support  his  asseveration  by  reasons  and  authorities  ;  what 
temerity  and  folly  does  it  not  argue  in  those,  who  hear  the  words 
of  God  himself,  to  demand  reasons  for  the  heavenly  and  saving 
doctrines  which  he  reveals  ?  Faith,  therefore,  excludes  not  only 
all  doubt,  but  even  the  desire  of  subjecting  its  truths  to  demon 

But  the  pastor  should  also  teach,  that  he  who  says,  "  I  be 
lieve,"  besides  declaring  the  inward  assent  of  the  mind,  which 
is  an  internal  act  of  faith,  should  also  openly  and  with  alacrity 
profess  and  proclaim  what  he  inwardly  and  in  his  heart  believes  : 
for  the  faithful  should  be  animated  by  the  same  spirit  that  spoke 
by  the  lips  of  the  prophet,  when  he  said :  "  I  believe,  and  there 
fore  did  I  speak,"5  and  should  follow  the  example  of  the  Apos 
tles  who  replied  to  the  princes  of  the  earth  :  "  We  cannot  but 

'  Rom.  iv.  18—21.  2  2  Cor.  iv.  6.  3  Ibid.  v.  3. 

5  Ps.  cxv.  1. 

4  Rom.  iii.  4. 

On  the  first  article  of  the  Creed. 

speak  the  things  which  we  have  seen  and  heard."1  This  spirit 
should  be  excited  within  us  by  these  admirable  words  of  St.  Paul: 
"I  am  not  ashamed  of  the  Gospel,  for  it  is  the  power  of  God  unto 
salvation,  to  every  one  that  believeth  ;"2  sentiments  which  derive 
additional  force  from  these  words  of  the  same  Apostle  :  "  With 
the  heart  we  believe  unto  justice  ;  but  with  the  mouth  confession 
is  made  unto  salvation."3 

"Lv  GOD"]  From  these  words  we  may  learn,  how  exalted  c£"stm» 
are  the  dignity  and  excellence  of  Christian  philosophy,  and  superb?  u> 
what  a  debt  of  gratitude  we  owe  to  the  divine  goodness  ;  we  to  human 
whom  it  is  given  at  once  to  soar  on  the  wings  of  faith  to  the  wisdom- 
knowledge  of  a  being  surpassing  in  excellence  and  in  whom  all 
our  desires  should  be  concentrated.  For  in  this,  Christian  philo 
sophy  and  human  wisdom  differ  much  ;  that  guided  solely  by  the 
light  of  nature,  and  having  made  gradual  advances  by  reasoning 
on  sensible  objects  and  effects,  human  wisdom,  after  long  and 
laborious  investigation,  at  length  reaches  with  difficulty  the  con 
templation  of  the  invisible  things  of  God,  discovers  and  under 
stands  the  first  cause  and  author  of  all  things  ;  whilst  on  the  con 
trary  Christian  philosophy  so  enlightens  and  enlarges  the  human 
mind,  that  at  once  and  without  difficulty  it  pierces  the  heavens, 
and  illumined  with  the  splendours  of  the  divinity  contemplates 
first  the  eternal  source  of  light,  and  in  its  radiance  all  created 
things  ;  so  that  with  the  Apostle  we  experience  with  the  most 
exquisite  pleasure,  "  and  believing  rejoice  with  joy  unspeaka 
ble,"4  that  "  we  have  been  called  out  of  darkness  into  his  admi 
rable  light."  5  Justly,  therefore,  do  the  faithful  profess  first  to 
believe  in  God  ;  whose  majesty,  with  the  prophet  Jeremiah,  we 
declare  "incomprehensible,"6  for,  as  the  Apostle  says,  "  He  dwells 
in  light  inaccessible,  which  no  man  hath  seen  or  can  see  :"7  and 
speaking  to  Moses,  he  himself  said  "  No  man  shall  see  my  face 
and  live."8  The  mind,  to  be  capable  of  rising  to  the  contem 
plation  of  the  Deity,  whom  nothing  approaches  in  sublimity,  must 
be  entirely  disengaged  from  the  senses  ;  and  this  the  natural  con 
dition  of  man  in  the  present  life  renders  impossible. 

"  God,"  however,  "  left  not  himself  without  testimony  ;  doing  Human 
good  from  heaven ;  giving  rains  and  fruitful  seasons,  filling  our  however, 
hearts  with  food  and  gladness."9      Hence  it  is  that  philosophers  capable  ' 
conceived  no  mean  idea  of  the  Divinity ;  ascribed  to  him  nothing  ?^obtain- 
corporeal,  nothing  gross,  nothing  compound ;  considered  him  the  1",^  of™ 
perfection  and  fulness  of  all  good ;  from  whom,  as  from  an  eter-  God  from 
nal,  inexhaustible    fountain   of  goodness    and  benignity,    flows  his  work& 
every  perfect  gift  to  all  creatures  ;  called  him  the  wise,  the  author 
of  truth,  the  loving,  the  just,  the  most  beneficent;  gave  him,  also, 
many  other  appellations  expressive  of  supreme  and  absolute  per 
fection  ;  and  said  that  his  immensity  filled  every  place,  and  his 
omnipotence  extended  to  every  thing.     This  the  Sacred  Scrip 
tures  more  clearly  express,  and  more  fully  develope,  as  in  the 

I  Acts.  iv.  20  2  Rom.  i.  Ifi.  3  Rom.  x.  10.  <  1  Pet.  i.  8. 

*  1  Pet.  ii.  9.  e  Jerem.  xxxii.  19.  i  1  Tim.  vi.  16.        8  Exod.  xxxiii.  10. 

9  Acts  xiv.  16. 

24  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

following  passages  :  "  God  is  a  spirit;"1  "Be  ye  perfect,  even 
as  your  Father,  who  is  in  heaven,  is  also  perfect  ;"2  "  all  things  are 
naked  and  open  to  his  eyes  ;"3  "  Oh  !  the  depth  of  the  riches  of 
the  wisdom  and  of  the  knowledge  of  God  ;"4  "  God  is  true  ;"5 
"  I  am  the  way,  the  truth  and  the  life  ;"6  "  Thy  right  hand  is 
full  of  justice  ;"7  "  Thou  openest  thy  hand,  and  fillest  with  bless 
ing  every  living  creature  ;"8  and  finally:  "  Whither  shall  I  go 
from  thy  spirit,  or  whither  shall  I  flee  from  thy  face  ?  If  I  as 
cend  into  heaven,  thou  art  there  ;  if  I  descend  into  hell  thou  art 
there ;  if  I  take  wing  in  the  morning,  and  dwell  in  the  uttermost 
parts  of  the  sea  ;  even  there  also  shall  thy  hand  lead  me,  and  thy 
right  hand  shall  hold  me,"  &c.9  and  "  Do  I  not  fill  heaven  and 
earth,  saith  the  Lord?"10  These  are  great  and  sublime  truths 
regarding  the  nature  of  God  ;  and  of  these  truths  philosophers 
attained  a  knowledge,  which,  whilst  it  accords  with  the  authority 
of  the  inspired  volume,  results  from  the  investigation  of  created 

The  know-       But  we  must,  also,  see  the  necessity  of  divine  revelation,  if 
rived  from  we  ren<ect  tnat  not  onty  ^oes  faith,  as  we  have  already  observed, 
faith  more    make  known  at  once  to  the  rude  and  unlettered,  those  truths,  a 
easy  and      knowledge  of  which  philosophers  could  attain  only  by  long  and 
laborious  study  ;  but  also  impresses  this  knowledge  with  much 
greater  certainty  and  security  against  all  error,  than  if  it  were  the 
result  of  philosophical  inquiry.      But  how  much  more  exalted 
must  not  that  knowledge  of  the  Deity  be  considered,  which  can 
not  be  acquired  in  common  by  all  from  the  contemplation  of  na 
ture,  but  is  the  peculiar  privilege  of  those  who  are  illumined  by 
the  light  of  faith  ? 

This  knowledge  is  contained  in  the  articles  of  the  Creed  which 
disclose  to  us  the  unity  of  the  divine  essence,  and  the  distinction 
of  three  persons  ;  and  also  that  God  is  the  ultimate  end  of  oui 
being,  from  whom  we  are  to  expect  the  fruition  of  the  eternal 
happiness  of  heaven :  for  we  have  learned  from  St.  Paul,  that 
"  God  is  a  rewarder  of  them  that  seek  him."  "  The  greatness 
of  these  rewards,  and  whether  they  are  such  as  that  human 
knowledge  could  aspire  to  their  attainment, 12  we  learn  from  these 
words  of  Isaias  uttered  long  before  those  of  the  Apostle;  "  From 
the  beginning  of  the  world  they  have  not  heard,  nor  perceived 
with  the  ears  :  without  thee,  O  God,  the  eye  hath  not  seen  what 
things  thou  hast  prepared  for  them  that  wait  for  thee."  ' 

From  what  has  been  said,  it  must  also  be  confessed  that  there 
is  but  one  God  not  many  Gods  ;  for  as  we  attribute  to  God  su 
preme  goodness  and  infinite  perfection,  it  is  impossible  that  what 
is  supreme  and  most  perfect  could  be  common  to  many.  If  a 
being  want  any  thing  that  constitutes  this  supreme  perfection,  it 
is  therefore  imperfect,  and  cannot  be  endowed  with  the  nature  of 
God.  This  is  also  proved  from  many  passages  of  the  Sacred 

Unity  of 

1  John  iv.  24.  2  Matt.  v.  48. 

s  Rom.  iii.  4.  6  John  xiv.  6. 

9  Ps.  cxxxviii.  7,  8,  9,  10,  &c. 

«  1  Cor.  ii.  9—14. 

3  Heb.  iv.  13.  <  Rom.  xi.  33. 

7  Ps.  xlvii.  11.  8  ps.  cxliv.  16. 

10  Jer.  xxiii.  24.  "  Heb.  xi.  6 
'3  Isa.  Ixiv.  4, 

On  the  first  article  of  the  Creed.  25 

Scripture ;  for  it  is  written,  "  Hear,  O  Israel,  the  Lord  our  God, 
is  one  Lord  ;"J  again,  "  Thou  shall  not  have  strange  gods  before 
me,"  2  is  the  command  of  God :  and  again  he  often  admonishes 
us  by  the  prophet,  "  I  am  the  first,  and  I  am  the  last,  and  besides 
me  there  is  no  God."  3  The  Apostle  also  expressly  declares  ; 
"  one  Lord,  one  faith,  one  Baptism."  4  It  should  not,  however, 
excite  our  surprise  if  the  Sacred  Scriptures  sometimes  give  the 
name  of  God  to  creatures  :5  for  when  they  call  the  prophets  and 
judges  gods,  they  do  so  not  after  the  manner  of  the  Gentiles ; 
who,  in  their  folly  and  impiety,  formed  to  themselves  many 
gods  ;  but  in  order  to  express,  by  a  manner  of  speaking  then  not 
unusual,  some  eminent  quality  or  function  conferred  on  them  by 
the  divine  munificence.  Christian  faith,  therefore,  believes  and 
professes,  as  is  declared  in  the  Nicene  Creed  in  confirmation  of 
this  truth,  that  God  in  his  nature,  substance  and  essence  is  one  ; 
but  soaring  still  higher,  it  so  understands  him  to  be  one  that  it 
adores  unity  in  trinity  and  trinity  in  unity.  Of  this  mystery 
we  now  proceed  to  speak,  as  it  comes  next  in  order  in  the 

"  THE  FATHER"]     As  God  is  called  "  Father"  for  more  rea-  Propriety 
sons  than  one,  we  must  first  determine  the  strictly  appropriated  "Father^ 
meaning  of  the  word  in   the  present  instance.     Some   also  on  as  applied 
whom  the  light  of  faith  never  shone,  conceived  God  to  be  an  toGod- 
eternal  substance   from    whom   all  things   had  their  beginning, 
by  whose  providence  they  are  governed  and  preserved   in  their 
order  and  state  of  existence.     As,  therefore,  he,  to  whom  a  fa 
mily  owes  its  origin,  and  by  whose  wisdom  and  authority  it  is 
governed,  is  called  a  father ;  so  by  analogy  from  things  human, 
God  was  called  Father,  because  acknowledged  to  be  the  crea 
tor  and  governor  of  the  universe.     The  Sacred  Scriptures  also 
use  the  same  appellation,  when,  speaking  of  God,  they  declare 
that  to  him  the  creation  of  all  things,  power  and  admirable  provi 
dence,  are  to  be  ascribed :  for  we  read,  "  Is  not  he  thy  Father  that 
hath  possessed  thee,  and  made  thee,  and  created  thee  ?"6   And 
again,  "  Have  we  not  all  one  Father  ?  Hath  not  one  God  created 
us  ?"7 

But  God,  particularly  in  the  New  Testament,  is  much  more  G°d  >n  a 
frequently,  and  in  some  sense   peculiarly  called  the  Father  of  nvarm'erthe 
Christians,  who  "have  not  received  the  spirit  of  bondage   in  "Father" 
fear,  but  have  received  the  spirit  of  adoption  of  sons,  whereby  °    Chns" 
they  cry  abba  Father;"  8    "  for  the  Father  hath  bestowed  on  us 
that  manner  of  charity,  that  we  should  be  called,  and  be  the  sons 
of  God  ;"  9  "  and  if  sons,  heirs  also,  heirs,  indeed,  of  God,  and 
joint-heirs  with  Christ,"10  "who  is  the  first-born  amongst  many 
brethren,  "  for  which  cause  he  is  not  ashamed  to  call  them  bre 
thren."  1Z  Whether,  therefore,  we  look  to  the  common  title  of  crea 
tion  and  conservation  ;  or  to  the  special  one  of  spiritual  adoption, 

1  Dent.  vi.  4.         2  Exod.  xx.  3.         3  is.  XHV.  6 ;  xlviii.  12.  <  Eph.  iv.  5. 

5  1's.  Ixxxi.  1.    Exod.  xxii.  28.     1  Cor.  viii.  5.  6  Deut.  xxxii.  6 

*  Mai.  ii.  10.          8  Rom.  viii.  15.        *  }  John  iii.  1.  u  Rom.  viii.  17 
ir  Rom.  viii.  29.        '2  Heb.  ii.  11. 



The  name 
of'  Father' 
of  persons 

The  Tri 

The  Father 
the  first 

to  be  avoid 
ed  in  ex 
the  myste 
ry  of  the 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent 

the  term  "  Father,"  as  applied  to  God  by  Christians,   is  alike 

But  the  pastor  will  teach  the  faithful  that,  on  hearing  the  word 
"  Father,"  besides  the  ideas  already  unfolded,  their  minds  should 
rise  to  the  contemplation  of  more  exalted  mysteries.  Under  the 
name  of  "  Father,"  the  divine  oracles  begin  to  unveil  to  us  a 
mysterious  truth  which  is  more  abstruse,  and  more  deeply  hidden 
in  that  inaccessible  light  in  which  God  dwells — a  mysterious 
truth  which  human  reason  not  only  could  not  reach,  but  even 
conceive  to  exist.  This  name  implies,  that  in  the  one  essence 
of  the  Godhead  is  proposed  to  our  belief,  not  only  one  person, 
but  a  distinction  of  persons :  for  in  one  Divine  nature  there  are 
three  persons ;  the  Father,  begotten  of  none  ;  the  Son,  begotten 
of  the  Father  before  all  ages  ;  the  Holy  Ghost,  proceeding  from 
the  Father  and  the  Son  from  all  eternity. 

But  in  the  one  substance  of  the  Divinity  the  Father  is  the  first 
person,  who  with  his  only  begotten  Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  is 
one  God  and  one  Lord,  not  in  the  singularity  of  one  person,  but 
in  the  trinity  of  one  substance.  These  three  persons,  (for  it 
would  be  impiety  to  assert  that  they  are  unlike  or  unequal  in  any 
thing)  are  understood  to  be  distinct  only  in  their  peculiar  rela 
tions.  The  Father  is  unbegotten,  the  Son  begotten  of  the  Fa 
ther,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  proceeds  from  both ;  and  we  confess 
the  essence  of  the  three  Persons,  their  substance  to  be  so  the  same, 
that  we  believe  that  in  the  confession  of  the  true  and  eternal  God, 
we  are  piously  and  religiously  to  adore  distinction  in  the  Persons, 
unity  in  the  essence,  and  equality  in  the  Trinity.  When  we  say 
that  the  Father  is  the  first  person,  we  are  not  to  be  understood  to 
mean  that  in  theTrinity  there  is  any  thing  first  or  last,  greater  or 
less — let  no  Christian  be  guilty  of  such  impiety,  for  Christianity 
proclaims  the  same  eternity,  the  same  majesty  of  glory  in  the  three 
Persona — but  the  Father,  because  the  beginning  without  a  be 
ginning,  we  truly  and  unhesitatingly  affirm  to  be  the  first  per 
son,  who,  as  he  is  distinct  from  the  others  by  his  peculiar  rela 
tion  of  paternity,  so  of  him  alone  is  it  true  that  he  begot  the  Son 
from  eternity  :  for,  when  in  the  Creed  we  pronounce  together  the 
words  "  God"  and  "  Father,"  it  intimates  to  us  that  he  is  God 
and  Father  from  eternity. 

But  as  in  nothing  is  a  too  curious  inquiry  more  dangerous,  or 
error  more  fatal,  than  in  the  knowledge  and  exposition  of  this, 
the  most  profound  and  difficult  of  mysteries,  let  the  pastor  in 
struct  the  people  religiously  to  retain  the  terms  used  to  express 
this  mystery,  and  which  are  peculiar  to  essence  and  person  ;  and 
let  the  faithful  know  that  unity  belongs  to  essence,  and  distinc 
tion  to  Persons.  But  these  are  truths  which  should  not  be  made 
matter  of  too  subtile  disquisition,  when  we  recollect  that  "  he, 
who  is  a  searcher  of  majesty,  shall  be  overwhelmed  by  glory."1 
We  should  be  satisfied  with  the  assurance  which  faith  gives  us 
that  we  have  been  taught  these  truths  by  God  himself ;  and  te 

Prov.  xxv.  27. 

On  the  first  article  of  the  Creed,  2? 

dissent  from  his  oracles  is  the  extreme  of  folly  and  misery.  He 
has  said  :  "  Teach  ye  all  nations,  baptising  them  in  the  name  of 
the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;"  *  and  again, 
"  there  are  three  who  give  testimony  in  heaven ;  the  Father,  the 
Word,  and  the  Holy  Ghost ;  and  these  three  are  one."  3  Let  him, 
however,  who  by  the  divine  bounty  believes  these  truths,  con 
stantly  beseech  and  implore  God,  and  the  Father,  who  made  all 
things  out  of  nothing,  and  orders  all  things  sweetly,  who  gave 
us  power  to  become  the  sons  of  God,  and  who  made  known  to 
us  the  mystery  of  the  Trinity ;  that  admitted,  one  day,  into  the 
eternal  tabernacles,  he  may  be  worthy  to  see  how  great  is  the  fe 
cundity  of  the  Father,  who  contemplating  and  understanding  him 
self,  begot  the  Son  like  and  equal  to  himself;  how  a  love  of  cha 
rity  in  both,  entirely  the  same  and  equal,  which  is  the  Holy 
Ghost,  proceeding  from  the  Father  and  the  Son,  connects  the 
begetting  and  the  begotten  by  an  eternal  and  indissoluble  bond  ; 
and  that  thus  the  essence  of  the  Trinity  is  one  and  the  distinction 
of  the  three  persons  perfect. 

"  ALMIGHTY."]     The  Sacred  Scriptures,  in  order  to  mark  the  why  the 
piety  and  devotion  with  which  the   God   of  holiness   is   to  be  power  and 
adored,  usually  express  his  supreme  power  and  infinite  majesty  Goitre  °f 
in  a  variety  of  ways ;  but  the  pastor  should  impress  particularly  designated 
on  the  minds  of  the  faithful,  that  the  attribute  of  omnipotence  is  hy  many 
that  by  which  he  is  most  frequently  designated.     Thus  he  says  tluTsacred 
of   himself,  "I    am  the   Almighty  God;"3  and   again,   Jacob  Scriptures, 
when  sending  his  sons  to  Joseph  thus  prayed  for  them,  "  May  That  of 
my    Almighty    God  make  him   favourable   to   you." 4     In   the  Almighty 
Apocalypse  also  it  is   written,  "  The   Lord  God,  who   is,  who  ^"enL  ° 
was,  and  who  is   to  come,  the  Almighty :" 5  and  in   another 
place    the   last  day  is   called  "  the  day    of  Almighty   God."0 
Sometimes  the   same  attribute    is    expressed    in    many  words  ; 
thus  :  "  no  word  shall  be  impossible  with  God  :"  7  "Is  the  hand 
of  the  Lord  unable?"8     "Thy  power  is  at  hand  when   thou 
wilt." 9     Many   other   passages   of  the   same  import  might  be 
adduced,  all  of  which   convey   the  same  idea  which   is  clearly 
comprehended  under  this  single  word  "  Almighty  "     By  it  we  Its  mean- 
understand  that  there  neither  is,  nor  can  be   imagined   any  thing  ing' 
which  God  cannot  do  ;  for  he  can  not  only  annihilate  all  created 
things,  and  in  a  moment  summon  from   nothing  into   existence 
many    other   worlds — an  exercise   of  power,  which,    however 
great,  comes  in  some  degree  within  our  comprehension — but  he 
can  do  many  things  still  greater,  of  which   the  human  mind  can 
form  no  conception.     But  though  God  can  do  all  things,  yet  he 
cannot  lie,  or  deceive,  or  be   deceived  ;  he  cannot  sin,  or  be 
ignorant  of  any  thing,  or  cease  to  exist.     These  things  are  com 
patible  with  those  beings  only  whose  actions  are  imperfect,  and 
are  entirely  incompatible  with  the  nature  of  God,  whose  acts  are 
all-perfect.     To  be  capable  of  these  things  is  a  proof  of  weakness, 

1  Matt  xxviii.  19.          2  1  John  v.  7.  3  Gen.  xvii.  1.          <  Gen.  xliii.  14. 

*  Apoc.  i.  8.  6  Apoc.  xvi.  14.          ?  Luke  i.  37.  8  Nura.  xj.  33. 

9  Wisd.  xii.  18. 

28  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

not  of  supreme  and  infinite  power,  the  peculiar  attribute  of  God 
Thus,  whilst  we  believe  God  to  be  omnipotent,  we  exclude  from 
him  whatever  is  not  intimately  connected,  and  entirety  consist 
ent  with  the  perfection  of  his  nature. 

Ommpo-  But  the  pastor  should  point  out  the  propriety  and  wisdom  of 
tence,  why  having  omitted  all  other  names  of  God  in  the  Creed,  and  of 
tribute yof  having  proposed  to  us  that  alone  of  "  Almighty"  as  the  object 
God  men-  of  our  belief ;  for  by  acknowledging  God  to  be  omnipotent,  we 
he'creed  a^so  °^  neccssity  acknowledge  him  to  be  omniscient,  and  to  hold 
all  things  in  subjection  to  his  supreme  authority  and  dominion. 
When  we  doubt  not  that  he  is  omnipotent,  we  must  be  also  con 
vinced  of  every  thing  else  regarding  him,  the  absence  of  which 
would  render  his  omnipotence  altogether  unintelligible.  Besides, 
nothing  tends  more  to  confirm  our  faith,  and  animate  our  hope, 
than  a  deep  conviction  that  all  things  are  possible  to  God :  for 
whatever  may  be  afterwards  proposed  as  an  object  of  faith, 
however  great,  however  wonderful,  however  raised  above  the 
natural  order,  is  easily  and  at  once  believed,  when  the  mind  is 
already  imbued  with  the  knowledge  of  the  omnipotence  of  God. 
Nay  more,  the  greater  the  truths  which  the  divine  oracles  an 
nounce,  the  more  willingly  does  the  mind  deem  them  worthy  of 
belief;  and  should  we  expect  any  favour  from  heaven,  we  are 
not  discouraged  by  the  greatness  of  the  desired  boon,  but  are 
cheered  and  confirmed  by  frequently  considering,  that  there  is 
nothing  which  an  omnipotent  God  cannot  effect. 

Necessity  With  this  faith,  then,  we  should  be  specially  fortified  wlien- 
f  ft"**1  in  ever  we  are  required  to  render  any  extraordinary  service  to  our 
mighty'  "  neighbour,  or  seek  to  obtain  by  prayer  any  favour  from  God. 
Its  necessity  in  the  one  case,  we  learn  from  the  Redeemer  him 
self,  who,  when  rebuking  the  incredulity  of  the  Apostles,  said 
to  them,  "If  you  have  faith  as  a  mustard-seed,  you  shall  say  to 
this  mountain,  remove  from  hence  thither,  and  it  shall  remove  ; 
and  nothing  shall  be  impossible  to  you  :'?1  and  in  the  other,  from 
these  words  of  St.  James,  "  Let  him  ask  in  faith,  nothing 
wavering;  for  he  that  wavereth  is  like  a  wave  of  the  sea,  which 
is  moved  and  carried  about  by  the  wind.  Therefore,  let  not 
that  man  think  that  he  shall  receive  any  thing  of  the  Lord."a 
This  faith  brings  with  it  also  many  advantages.  It  forms  us,  in 
the  first  place,  to  all  humility  and  lowliness  of  mind,  according 
to  these  words  of  the  Prince  of  the  Apostles  :  "  Be  you  hum 
bled,  therefore,  under  the  mighty  hand  of  God."3  It  also 
teaches  us  not  to  fear  where  there  is  no  cause  of  fear,  but  to 
fear  God  alone,4  in  whose  power  we  ourselves  and  all  that  we 
have  are  placed;5  for  our  Saviour  says,  "I  will  show  you 
whom  you  shall  fear  ;  fear  ye  him,  who,  after  he  hath  killed, 
hath  power  to  cast  into  hell."  6  This  faith  is,  also,  useful  to 
enable  us  to  know  and  exalt  the  infinite  mercies  of  God  towards 
us  :  he  who  reflects  on  the  omnipotence  of  God,  cannot  be  so 

'  Matt.  xvii.  20.        2  james  i.  6,  7.         3  1  pet.  v.  6.         <  Ps.  xxxii.  8.  33.  10. 
s  Wisd.  vii.  16.        6  Luke  xii.  5. 

On  the  first  article  of  the  Creed.  29 

ungrateful  as  not  frequently  to  exclaim,  "  He  that  is  mighty 
hath  done  great  things  to  me."  1 

When,  however,  in  this  article  we  call  the  Father  "  Almighty,"  Not  three 
let  no  person  be  led  into  the  error  of  excluding,  therefore,  from  j^j™^ 
its  participation  the  Son  and  the  Holy  Ghost.      As  we  say  the  mighty. 
Father  is  God,  the  Son  is  God,  the  Holy  Ghost  is  God,  and  yet 
there  are  not  three  Gods,  but  one  God,  so,  in  like  manner,  we 
confess  that  the  Father  is  Almighty,  the  Son  Almighty,  and   the 
Holy  Ghost  Almighty,  and,  yet,  there  are  not  three  Almighties, 
but  one  Almighty.     The  Father,  in  particular,  we  call  Almighty, 
because  he  is  the  source  of  all  origin ;  as  we  also  attribute  wis 
dom  to  the  Son,  because   the   eternal  word  of  the   Father ;  and 
goodness  to  the  Holy  Ghost,  because  the  love  of  both.     These, 
however, and  such  appellations,  maybe  given  indiscriminately  to 
the  three  Persons,  according  to  the  rule  of  Catholic  faith. 

"  CREATOR  OF  HEAVEN  AND  EARTH"]  The  necessity  of  having  Fromwhat. 
previously  imparted  to  the  faithful  a  knowledge  of  the  omni-  ^'  ^j 
potence  of  God,  will  appear  from  what  we  are  now  about  to  made  the 
explain  with  regard  to  the  creation  of  the  world.       For    when  worltl 
already  convinced  of  the  omnipotence  of  the  Creator,  we  more 
readily  believe  the  wondrous  production  of  so  stupendous  a  work. 
For  God  formed  not  the  world  from  materials  of  any  sort,  but 
created  it  from  nothing,  and  that  not  by  constraint  or  necessity, 
but  spontaneously,  and  of  his  own  free  will.      Nor  was  he  im 
pelled  to  create  by  any  other  cause  than  a  desire  to  communicate 
to  creatures  the  riches  of  his  bounty  ;  for  essentially  happy  in 
himself,  he  stands  not  in  need  of  any  thing :  as  David  expresses 
it :  "I  said  to  the  Lord,  thou  art  my  God,  for  of  my  goods  thou 
hast  no  need."3     But  as,  influenced  by  his  own  goodness,  "  he 
hath  done  all  things  whatsoever  he  would,"3  so  in  the  work  of 
the  creation  he  followed  no  external  form  or  model ;  but  con-  , 

templating  and,  as  it  were,  imitating  the  universal  model  con 
tained  in  the  divine  intelligence,  the  supreme  Architect,  with  ii» 
finite  wisdom  and  power,  attributes  peculiar  to  the  Divinity, 
created  all  things  in  the  beginning :  "  he  spoke  and  they  were 
made,  he  commanded  and  they  were  created."4  The  words 
"  heaven"  and  "  earth"  include  all  things  which  the  heavens  and 
the  earth  contain ;  for,  besides  the  heavens,  which  the  Prophet 
called  "  the  work  of  his  fingers,"5  he  also  gave  to  the  sun  its 
brilliancy,  and  to  the  moon  and  stars  their  beauty :  and  that  they 
may  be  "  for  signs  and  for  seasons,  for  days  and  for  years,"8  he 
so  ordered  the  celestial  bodies  in  a  certain  and  uniform  course, 
that  nothing  varies  more  their  continual  revolution,  yet  nothing 
more  fixed  than  that  variety. 

Moreover,  he  created  from  nothing  spiritual  nature,  and  angels  Creation  ot 
innumerable  to  serve  and  minister  to  him:  and  these  he  replen- AnSels- 
ished  and  adorned  with  the  admirable  gifts  of  his  grace  and  pow 
er.     That  the  devil  and  his  associates,  the  rebel  angels,   were 
gifted  at  their  creation  with  grace,  clearly  follows  from  these 

1  Luke  i.  49.  ^  ps.  xv.  2.  3  ps.  cxiii.  3.  4  ps.  xxx;i.  9 .  Cxlviii.  5 

•  Ps.  viii.  4.  6  Gen.  i.  14. 


Their  fall 

Creation  of 
the  earth. 

Of  Man. 

God    the 
Creator  of 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

words  of  the  Sacred  Scriptures:  "The  devil  stood  not  in  the 
truth;"1  on  which  subject  St.  Augustine  says,  "In  creating  the 
angels  he  endowed  them  with  good  will,  that  is,  with  pure  love,  by 
which  they  adhere  to  him,  at  once  giving  them  existence,  and 
adorning  them  with  grace."3  Hence  we  are  to  believe  that  the  an 
gels  were  never  without  "  good  will,"  that  is,  the  love  of  God.  As 
to  their  knowledge  we  have  this  testimony  of  Holy  Scripture  : 
"  Thou,  Lord,  my  King,  art  wise  according  to  the  wisdom  of  an 
Angel  of  God,  to  understand  all  things  upon  earth."3  Finally,  Da- 
vid°ascribes  power  to  them  in  these  words  ;  "  mighty  in  strength, 
executing  his  word;"4  and  on  this  account,  they  are  often  called 
in  Scripture  the  "  powers"  and  "  the  hosts  of  heaven."  But  al 
though  they  were  all  endowed  with  celestial  gifts,  very  many, 
however,  having  rebelled  against  God,  their  Father  and  Creator, 
were  hurled  from  the  mansions  of  bliss,  and  shut  up  in  the  dark 
dungeons  of  hell,  there  to  suffer  for  eternity  the  punishment  of 
their  pride.  Speaking  of  them  the  Prince  of  the  Apostles  says  : 
"  He  spare-d  not  the  angels  that  sinned  ;  but  delivered  them, 
drawn  down  by  infernal  ropes,  to  the  lower  hell,  into  torments, 
to  be  reserved  unto  judgment."5 

The  earth,  also,  God  commanded  to  stand  in  the  midst  of  the 
world,  rooted  in  its  own  foundation,  and  "  made  the  mountains 
to  ascend,  and  the  plains  to  descend  into  the  place  which  he  had 
founded  for  them."  That  the  waters  should  not  inundate  the 
earth,  "  he  hath  set  a  bound  which  they  shall  not  pass  over,  nei 
ther  shall  they  return  to  cover  the  earth."6  He  next  not  only 
clothed  and  adorned  it  with  trees,  and  every  variety  of  herb  and 
flower,  but  filled  it,  as  he  had  already  filled  the  air  and  water,  with 
innumerable  sorts  of  living  creatures. 

Lastly,  he  formed  man  from  the  slime  of  the  earth,  immortal 
and  impassable,  not,  however,  by  the  strength  of  nature,  but  by 
the  bounty  of  God.  His  soul  he  created  to  his  own  image  and 
likeness  ;  gifted  him  with  free  will,  and  tempered  all  his  motions 
and  appetites,  so  as  to  subject  them,  at  all  times,  to  the  dictate  of 
reason.  He  then  added  the  invaluable  gift  of  original  righteous 
ness,  and  next  gave  him  dominion  over  all  other  animals — By  re 
ferring  to  the  sacred  history  of  Genesis  the  pastor  will  make  him 
self  familiar  with  these  things  for  the  instruction  of  the  faithful. 

What  we  have  said,  then,  of  the  creation  of  the  universe,  is  to 
be  understood  as  conveyed  by  tbe  words  "heaven  and  earth," 
and  is  thus  briefly  set  forth  by  the  prophet :  "  Thine  are  the 
heavens,  and  thine  is  the  earth  :  the  world  and  the  fulness  thereof 
thou  hast  founded :"  7  and  still  more  briefly  by  the  Fathers  of  the 
Council  of  Nice,  who  added  in  their  Creed  these  words,  "of  all 
things  visible  and  invisible."  Whatever  exists  in  the  universe, 
and  was  created  by  God,  either  falls  under  the  senses,  and  is  in 
cluded  in  the  word  "  visible,"  or  is  an  object  of  perception  to  the 
mind,  and  is  expressed  by  the  word  "  invisible." 

1  John  viii.  44. 
•»  Ps.  cii.  20. 

2  \ug.  lib.  12.  de  Civil.  Dei,  cap.  9.        3  2  Kings  xiv.  20. 
s  2  Pet.  ii.  4.  6  Ps.  ciii.  8,  9.          1  Ps.  Ixxxviii.  12. 

On  the  second  article  of  the  Creed.  31 

We  are  not,  however,  to  understand  that  the  works  of  God,  The  pre- 
when  once  created,  could  continue  to  exist  unsupported  by  his 
omnipotence :  as  they  derive  existence  from  his  supreme  power, 
wisdom  and  goodness,  so  unless  preserved  continually  by  his  su 
perintending  providence,  and  by  the  same  power  which  produced 
them,  they  should  instantly  return  into  their  original  nothing. 
This  the  Scriptures  declare,  when  they  say,  "  How  could  any 
thing  endure  if  thou  wouldst  not  ?  or  be  preserved,  if  not  called 
by  thee  ?"*  But  not  only  does  God  protect  and  govern  all  things 
by  his  providence  ;  but  also  by  an  internal  virtue  impels  to  mo 
tion  and  action  whatever  moves  and  acts,  and  this  in  such  a  man 
ner,  as  that  although  he  excludes  not,  he  yet  prevents  the  agency 
of  secondary  causes.  His  invisible  influence  extends  to  all  things, 
and  as  the  wise  man  says  :  "  It  reacheth  from  end  to  end,  mighty, 
and  ordereth  all  things  sweetly."  a  This  is  the  reason  why  the 
Apostle,  announcing  to  the  Athenians  the  God  whom  not  know 
ing  they  adored,  said ;  "  He  is  not  far  from  every  one  of  us  :  for 
in  him  we  live  and  move  and  have  our  being."3 

Let  thus  much  suffice  for  the  explanation  of  the  first  article  of  Creation, 
the  Creed :  it  may  not,  however,  be  unnecessary  to  add  that  the  ^^{^ 
creation  is  the  common  work  of  the  three  Persons  of  the  Holy  Persons, 
and  undivided  Trinity — of  the  Father,  whom,  according  to  the 
doctrine  of  the  Apostles,  we  here  declare  to  be  "  Creator  of  hea 
ven  and  earth  ;" — of  the  Son,  of  whom  the  Scripture  says,  "  all 
things  were  made  by  him  ;"  *  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  of  whom 
it  is  written,  "The  Spirit  of  God  moved  over  the  waters:"5  and 
again,  "  By  the  word  of  the  Lord  the  heavens  were  established  • 
and  all  the  power  of  them  by  the  Spirit  of  his  mouth."  6 


THAT  wonderful  and  superabundant  are  the  blessings  which  The  great 
flow  to  the  human  race,  from  the  belief  and  profession  of  this  blessings 
article  we  learn  from  these  words  of  St.  John  ;  "  Whosoever  shall  SSita 
confess  that  Jesus  is  the  son  of  God,  God  abideth  in  him  and  he  belief  and 
in  God  ;"7  and  also  from  the  words  of  Christ  our  Lord,  proclaim-  profession 
ing  the  Prince  of  the  Apostles  blessed  for  the  confession  of  this  °[ethlsarU 
truth  ;  "  Blessed  art  thou,  Simon  Bar-Jona :  for  flesh  and  blood 
have  not  revealed  it  to  thee,  but  my  Father  who  is  in  heaven."8 
This  sublime  truth  is  the  most  firm  basis  of  our  salvation  and  re 

But  as  the  fruit  of  these  admirable  blessings  is  best  known  by  HOW  we 
considering  the  ruin  brought  on  man,  by  his  fall  from  that  most  may  learn 

1  Wisdom  xi.  26.        2  Wisdom  viii.  1         3  Acts  xvii.  27,  28.         •>  John  i  3 
*  Gen.  i.  2.  6  Ps.  xxxii.  6.  7  i  john  iv.  15.  8  Mat  xvi  17. 


to  estimate 
their  value. 

Belief  and 

of  this  arti 
cle  neces 
sary  to  sal 

The  pro 
mise  of  a 

Same  pro 
mise  re 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

happy  state  in  which  God  had  placed  our  first  parents,  let  the 
pastor  be  particularly  careful  to  make  known  to  the  faithful,  the 
cause  of  this  common  misery  and  universal  calamity.  When 
Adam  had  departed  from  the  obedience  due  to  God,  and  had  vio 
lated  the  prohibition,  "of  every  tree  of  Paradise  thou  shall  eat; 
but  of  the  tree  of  knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  thou  shalt  not 
eat,  for  in  what  day  soever  thou  shalt  eat  it,  thou  shalt  die  the 
death  ;'?1  he  fell  into  the  extreme  misery  of  losing  the  sanctity 
and  righteousness  in  which  he  was  created  ;  and  of  becoming  sub 
ject  to  all  those  other  evils,  which  are  detailed  more  at  large  by 
the  holy  Council  of  Trent.2  The  Pastor,  therefore,  will  not  omit 
to  remind  the  faithful,  that  the  guilt  and  punishment  of  original 
sin  were  not  confined  to  Adam,  but  justly  descended  from  him, 
as  from  their  source  and  cause,  to  all  posterity.  The  human  race, 
having  fallen  from  their  elevated  dignity,  no  power  of  men  or 
angels  could  raise  them  from  their  fallen  condition,  and  replace 
them  in  their  primitive  state.  To  remedy  the  evil,  and  repair 
the  loss,  it  became  necessary  that  the  Son  of  God,  whose  merits 
are  infinite,  clothed  in  the  weakness  of  our  flesh,  should  remove 
the  infinite  weight  of  sin,  and  reconcile  us  to  God  in  his  blood. 
The  belief  and  profession  of  this  our  redemption,  as  God  de 
clared  from  the  beginning,  are  now,  and  always  have  been,  neces 
sary  to  salvation.  In  the  sentence  of  condemnation,  pronounced 
against  the  human  race  immediately  after  the  sin  of  Adam,  the 
hope  of  redemption  was  held  out  in  these  words,  which  denoun 
ced  to  the  devil,  the  loss  which  he  was  to  sustain  by  man's  re 
demption  :  "  I  will  put  enmities  between  thee  and  the  woman, 
and  thy  seed  and  her  seed :  she  shall  crush  thy  head,  and  thou 
shalt  lie  in  wait  for  her  heel."3  The  same  promise  he  again  often 
confirmed,  and  more  distinctly  signified  his  counsels  to  those 
chiefly  whom  he  desired  to  make  special  objects  of  his  predilec 
tion  :  amongst  others  to  the  patriarch  Abraham,  to  whom  he  often 
declared  this  mystery,  but  then  more  explicitly  when,  in  obedi 
ence  to  God's  command,  he  was  prepared  to  sacrifice  his  son 
Isaac  :  "  Because,"  says  he,  "  thou  hast  done  this  thing,  and 
hast  not  spared  thy  only  begotten  son  for  my  sake ;  I  will  bless 
thee,  and  I  will  multiply  thy  seed  as  the  stars  of  heaven,  and  as 
the  sand  that  is  by  the  sea  shore.  Thy  seed  shall  possess  the 
gates  of  their  enemies,  and  in  thy  seed  shall  all  the  nations  of  the 
earth  be  blessed  ;  because  thou  hast  obeyed  my  voice."4  From 
these  words  it  was  easy  to  infer  that  he,  who  was  to  deliver  man 
kind  from  the  ruthless  tyranny  of  Satan,  was  to  be  descended  from 
Abraham  ;  and  that,  whilst  he  was  the  Son  of  God,  he  was  to  be 
born  of  the  seed  of  Abraham  according  to  the  flesh.  Not  long  af 
ter,  to  preserve  the  memory  of  this  promise,  he  renewed  the 
same  covenant  with  Jacob,  the  grandson  of  Abraham.  When  in 
a  vision  Jacob  saw  a  ladder  standing  on  earth,  and  its  top  reach 
ing  to  heaven,  and  the  angels  of  God  ascending  and  descending 
by  it,5  he  also  heard  the  Lord  saying  to  him,  as  the  Scripture 

1  Gen.  ii.  16, 17.        2  Sess.  5.  Can.  1.  &  2.— Sess.  6.  Can.  1.  &  2.    3  Gen.  iii.  15 
•»  Gen.  xxii.  16, 17, 18.  5  Gen.  xxviii.  12. 

On  the  second  article  of  the  Creed.  3? 

testifies ;  "  I  am  the  Lord  God  of  Abraham  thy  father,  and  the 
God  of  Isaac  ;  the  land,  wherein  thou  sleepest,  I  will  give  to  thee 
and  to  thy  seed  ;  and  thy  seed  shall  be  as  the  dust  of  the  earth  ; 
thou  shalt  spread  abroad  to  the  west  and  to  the  east,  and  to  the 
north  and  to  the  south ;  and  in  thee  and  thy  seed  all  the  nations 
of  the  earth  shall  be  blessed."1  Nor  did  God  cease  afterwards 
to  excite  in  the  posterity  of  Abraham,  and  in  many  others,  the 
hope  of  a  Saviour,  by  renewing  the  recollection  of  the  same 
promise  ;  for,  after  the  establishment  of  the  Jewish  republic  and 
religion,  it  became  better  known  to  his  people.  Many  types 
signified,  and  prophets  foretold  the  numerous  and  invaluable 
blessings  which  our  Redeemer,  Christ  Jesus,  was  to  bring  to 
mankind.  And,  indeed,  the  prophets,  whose  minds  were  illu 
minated  with  light  from  above,  foretold  the  birtli  of  the  Son  of 
God,  the  wondrous  works  which  he  wrought  whilst  on  earth,  his 
doctrine,  manners,  kindred,  death,  resurrection,  and  the  other 
mysterious  circumstances  regarding  him  ;3  and  all  these  as 
graphically  as  if  they  werepassingbefore  their  eyes.  With  the 
exception  of  the  time  only,  we  can  discover  no  difference  be 
tween  the  predictions  of  the  prophets,  and  the  preaching  of  the 
apostles,  between  the  faith  of  the  ancient  patriarchs,  and  that  of 
Christians — But,  we  are  now  to  speak  of  the  several  parts  of  this 

"  JEsus"JThis  is  the  proper  name  of  the  man-God,  and  signifies  Meaning  o 
Saviour ;  a  name  given  him  not  accidentally,  or  by  the  judg-  the  na'm' 
ment  or  will  of  man,  but  by  the  counsel  and  command  of  God.  whoiii  and 
For  the  angel  announced  to  Mary  his  mother :  "  Behold  thou  why  given 
shalt  conceive  in  thy  womb  and  shalt  bring  forth  a  Son,  and 
thou  shalt  call  his  name  Jesus."3  He  afterwards  not  only 
commanded  Joseph,  who  was  espoused  to  the  Virgin,  to  call  the 
child  by  that  name,  but  also  declared  the  reason  why  he  should 
be  so  called :  "  Joseph,"  says  he,  "  Son  of  David,  fear  not  to 
take  Mary  thy  wife,  for  that  which  is  born  in  her  is  of  the  Holy 
Ghost ;  and  she  shall  bring  forth  a  Son,  and  thou  shalt  call  his 
name  Jesus,  for  he  shall  save  his  people  from  their  sins,"4 
In  the  Sacred  Scriptures  we  meet  with  many  who  were  called 
by  this  name — the  son  of  Nave,  for  instance,  who  succeeded 
Moses,  and,  by  special  privilege  denied  to  Moses,  conducted 
into  the  land  of  promise,  the  people  whom  Moses  had  delivered 
from  Egypt  ;5  and  Josedech,  whose  father  was  a  priest.8  But 
how  much  more  appropriately  shall  we  not  deem  this  name 
given  to  him,  who  gave  light  and  liberty  and  salvation,  not  to 
one  people  only,  but  to  all  men,  of  all  ages — to  men  oppressed, 
not  by  famine,  or  Egyptian,  or  Babylonish  bondage,  but  sitting 
in  the  shadow  of  death  and  fettered  by  sin,  and  riveted  in  the  gall 
ing  chains  of  the  devil — to  him  who  purchased  for  them  a  right 
to  the  inheritance  of  heaven,  and  reconciled  them  to  God  ine 

1  Gen.  xxviii.  13,  14.       2  Is.  vii.  14 ;  viii.  3 ;  ix.  5 ;  xi.  1 — 53  per  totum.    Jer.  xxiii 
I  :  xxx.  9.    Dan.  vii.  13  ;   ix.  21.  3  Luke  i.  31.  «  Matt.  i.  20,  21. 

*  Ercl.  xlvi.  1.  6  Agg.  i.  1. 


M  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 


Father  In  those  men,  who  were  designated  by  the  same 
name,  we  recognise  so  many  types  of  Christ  our  Lord,  by 
whom  these  blessings  were  accumulated  on  the  human  race. 
All  other  names,  which  were  predicted  to  be  given  by  divine 
appointment  to  the  Son  of  God,  are  to  be  referred  to  this  one 
name  Jesus,1  for  whilst  they  partially  glanced  at  the  salvation 
which  he  was  to  purchase  for  us,  this  fully  embraced  the  univer 
sal  salvation  of  the  human  race. 

The  name  "CHRIST"]  To  the  name  "Jesus"  is  also  added  that  of 
added' to'hy  "Christ,"  which  signifies  the  "anointed;"  a  name  expressive  of 
that  of  honour  and  office,  and  not  peculiar  to  one  thing  only,  but  common 
Jesus.  to  many  ;  for,  in  the  old  law  priests  and  kings,  whom  God,  on 
account  of  the  dignity  of  their  office,  commanded  to  be  anointed, 
were  called  Christs  ;2— Priests,  because  they  commend  the  peo 
ple  to  God  by  unceasing  prayer,  offer  sacrifice  to  him  and  depre 
cate  his  wrath. — Kings,  because  they  are  entrusted  with  the  go 
vernment  of  the  people,  and  to  them  principally  belong  the  au 
thority  of  the  law,  the  protection  of  innocence,  and  the  punish 
ment  of  guilt.  As,  therefore,  both  seem  to  represent  the  majesty 
of  God  on  earth,  those  who  were  appointed  to  the  royal  or  sacer 
dotal  office,  were  anointed  with  oil.3  Prophets  also  were  usually 
anointed,  who,  as  the  interpreters  and  ambassadors  of  the  im 
mortal  God,  unfolded  to  us  the  secrets  of  heaven,  and  by  salu 
tary  precepts,  and  the  prediction  of  future  events,  exhorted  to 
amendment  of  life.  When  Jesus  Christ  our  Saviour  came  into 
the  world,  he  assumed  these  three  characters  of  Prophet,  Priest, 
and  King,  and  is,  therefore,  called  "  Christ,"  having  been  anoint 
ed  for  the  discharge  of  these  functions,  not  by  mortal  hand,  or 
with  earthly  ointment,  but  by  the  power  of  his  heavenly  Father, 
and  with  a  spiritual  oil ;  for  the  plenitude  of  the  Holy  Spirit, 
and  a  more  copious  effusion  of  all  gifts,  than  any  created  being 
is  capable  of  receiving,  were  poured  into  his  soul.  This  the 
prophet  clearly  indicates,  when  he  addresses  the  Redeemer  in 
these  words.  "  Thou  hast  loved  justice,  and  hatest  iniquity . 
therefore  God,  thy  God,  hath  anointed  thee  with  the  oil  of  gladness 
before  thy  fellows."4  The  same  is  also  more  explicitly  declared 
by  the  prophet  Isaiah:  "The  Spirit  of  the  Lord,"  says  he,"  is 
upon  me,  because  the  Lord  hath  anointed  me ;  he  hath  sent  me 
to  preach  to  the  meek."5  Jesus  Christ,  therefore,  was  the  great 
prophet  and  teacher,8  from  whom  we  have  learned  the  will  of 
God,  and  by  whom  the  world  has  been  taught  the  knowledge  of 
the  Father;  and  the  name  of  Prophet  belongs  to  him  pre-emi 
nently,  because  all  others  who  were  dignified  with  that  name 
were  his  disciples,  sent  principally  to  announce  the  coming  of 
that  Prophet  who  was  to  save  all  men.  Christ  was  also  a 
Priest,  not,  indeed  of  the  tribe  of  Levi,  as  were  the  priests  of 
the  old  law,  but  of  that  of  which  the  prophet  David  sang  : 

1  Is.  vii.  14;  viii    8;  ix.  6.    Jer.  xxiii.  6.      2  1  Kings  xii.  3;  xvi.  6;  xxiv.  7 
»  Lev.  viii.  30.      3  Kings  xix.  15,  16.  <  Pa.  xliv.  8.  *  Is.  Ixi.  1. 

6  Deut.  xviii.  15. 

On  the  second  article  of  the  Creed.  35 

"  Thou  art  a  Priest  for  ever  according  to  the  order  of  Melchise- 
dech."1  This  subject  the  Apostle  fully  and  accurately  developes 
in  his  epistle  to  the  Hebrews.*  Christ  not  only  as  God,  but  as 
man,  we  also  acknowledge  to  be  a  King :  of  him  the  angel  testi 
fies  ;  "  He  shall  reign  in  the  house  of  Jacob  for  ever,  and  of  his 
kingdom  there  shall  be  no  end."3  This  kingdom  of  Christ  is 
spiritual  and  eternal,  begun  on  earth,  but  perfected  in  heaven : 
and,  indeed,  he  discharges  by  his  admirable  providence  the  du 
ties  of  King  towards  his  Church,  governing  and  protecting  her 
against  the  open  violence  and  covert  designs  of  her  enemies, 
imparting  to  her  not  only  holiness  and  righteousness,  but  also 
power  and  strength  to  persevere.  But,  although  the  good  and 
the  bad  are  contained  within  the  limits  of.this  kingdom,  and  thus 
all  by  right  belong  to  it;  yet  those,  who,  in  conformity  with  his 
commands,  lead  unsullied  and  innocent  lives,  experience,  beyond 
all  others,  the  sovereign  goodness  and  beneficence  of  our  King. 
Although  descended  from  the  most  illustrious  race  of  kings,  he 
obtained  not  this  kingdom  by  hereditary  or  other  human  right, 
but  because  God  bestowed  on  him  as  man  all  the  power,  dignity, 
and  majesty  of  which  human  nature  is  susceptible.  To  him, 
therefore,  God  delivered  the  government  of  the  whole  world,  and 
to  this  his  sovereignty,  which  has  already  commenced,  all  things 
shall  be  made  fully  and  entirely  subject  on  the  day  of  judgment.4 

"  His  ONLY  SON"]     In  these  words,  mysteries  more  exalted  Christ,  the 
with  regard  to  Jesus  are  proposed  to  the  faithful,  as  objects  of  ^"true0*1 
their  belief  and  contemplation — that  he  is  the  Son  of  God,  and  God. 
true  God,  as  is  the  Father  who  begot  him  from  eternity.    We  also 
confess  that  he  is  the  second  person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  equal 
in  all  things  to  the  Father  and  the  Holy  Ghost ;  for,  in  the  divine 
Persons  nothing  unequal  or  unlike  should  exist,  or  even  be  ima 
gined  to  exist;  whereas  we  acknowledge  the  essence,  will  and 
power  of  all  to  be  one  ;  a  truth  clearly  revealed  in  many  of  the 
oracles  of  inspiration,  and  sublimely  announced  in  this  testimony 
of  St.  John  :  "  In  the  beginning  was  the  Word,  and  the  Word 
was  God,  and  the  Word  was  with  God."5 

But,  when  we  are  told  that  Jesus  is  the  Son  of  God,  AVC  are  His  eternal 
not  to  understand  any  thing  earthly  or  mortal  of  his  birth ;  but  generation 
are  firmly  to  believe,  and  piously  to  adore  that  birth  by  which, 
from  all  eternity,  the  Father  begot  the  Son  ;  a  mystery  which 
reason  cannot  fully  conceive  or  comprehend,  and  at  the  contem 
plation  of  which,  overwhelmed,  as  it  were  with  admiration,  we 
should  exclaim  with  the  prophet :  "  Who  will  declare  his  gene 
ration?"6  On  this  point,  then,  we  are  to  believe  that  the  Son  is 
of  the  same  nature,  of  the  same  power  and  wisdom  with  the  Fa 
ther  ;  as  we  more  fully  profess  in  these  words  of  the  Nicene 
Creed:  "  And  in  Jesus  Christ,  his  only  begotten  Son,  born  of 
the  Father  before  all  ages,  God  of  God,  true  God  of  true  God, 
begotten,  not  made,  unsubstantial  to  the  Father,  by  whom  all 

i  Ps.  cix.  4.    Heb.  v.  5.     2  Heb.  v.  &  vii.      =<  Luke  i.  33.      <  1  Cor.  15.  25—27. 
*  John  i.  1.  e  Is.  liii.  8. 


36  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

things  \vere  made."  Amongst  the  different  comparisons  em 
ployed  to  elucidate  the  mode  and  manner  of  this  eternal  gene 
ration,  that  which  is  borrowed  from  thought  seems  to  come  near 
est  to  its  illustration ;  and  hence  St.  John  calls  the  Son  "  the 
word  :"*  for  as  the  mind,  in  some  sort  looking  into  and  under 
standing  itself,  forms  an  image  of  itself,  which  Theologians  ex 
press  by  the  term  "  word  ;"  so  God,  as  far,  however,  as  we  may 
compare  human  things  to  divine,  understanding  himself,  begets 
the  eternal  Word.  Better,  however,  to  contemplate  what  faith 
proposes,  and,  in  the  sincerity  of  our  souls,  believe  and  confess 
that  Jesus  Christ  is  true  God  and  true  man — as  God,  begotten 
of  the  Father  before  all  ages — as  man,  born  in  time  of  Mary, 
his  virgin  mother.  Whilst  we  thus  acknowledge  his  twofold 
nativity,  we  believe  him  to  be  one  Son,  because  his  divine  and 
human  natures  meet  in  one  person.  As  to  his  divine  generation 
His  unity  he  has  no  brethren  or  coheirs  ;  being  the  only  begotten  Son  of 
of  person.  jne  Father,  whilst  we  mortals  are  the  work  of  his  hands :  but, 
if  we  consider  his  birth  as  man,  he  not  only  calls  many  by  the 
name  of  brethren,  but  regards  them  as  brethren — they  are  those 
who,  by  faith  have  received  Christ  the  Lord,  and  who  really, 
and  by  works  of  charity,  approve  the  faith  which  they  internally 
profess  ;  and  hence  it  is  that  he  is  called  by  the  Apostle :  "  the 
first  born  amongst  many  brethren."2 

Whycallcd  "  OUR  LORD"]  Of  our  Saviour  many  things  are  recorded  in 
!>>•  different  Scripture,  some  of  which  clearly  apply  to  him  as  God,  and  some 
as  man  ;  because  from  his  different  natures  he  received  the 
different  properties  which  belong  to  each.  Hence,  we  say 
with  truth,  that  Christ  is  Almighty,  Eternal,  Infinite,  and  these 
attributes  he  has  from  his  divine  nature  :  again,  we  say  of  him 
that  he  suffered,  died,  and  rose  again,  which  manifestly  are  pro 
perties  compatible  only  with  his  human  nature. 

Whycalled  Besides  these,  there  are  others  common  to  both  natures ;  as 
•our Lord.'  when  jn  th.js  article  of  the  Creed,  we  say  :  "our  Lord  ;"  a  name 
strictly  applicable  to  both.  As  he  is  eternal,  as  well  as  the  Fa 
ther,  so  is  he  Lord  of  all  things  equally  with  the  Father  ;  and, 
as  he  and  the  Father  are  not,  the  one,  one  God,  and  the  other, 
another  God  ;  but  one  and  the  same  God  ;  so  likewise  he  and 
the  Father  are  not,  the  one,  one  Lord,  and  the  other,  another 
Lord.  As  man,  he  is  also,  for  many  reasons,  appropriately  call 
ed  "  our  Lord  ;"  and  first,  because  he  is  our  Redeemer,  who  de 
livered  us  from  sin.  This  is  the  doctrine  of  St.  Paul:  "  He 
humbled  himself,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  becoming  obedient  unto 
death  ;  even  to  the  death  of  the  cross  :  for  which  cause  God  hath 
also  exalted  him,  and  hath  given  him  a  name,  that  is  above  all 
names,  that  at  the  name  of  Jesus  every  knee  should  bend  of  those 
that  are  in  heaven,  on  earth  and  under  the  earth ;  and  that  every 
tongue  should  confess  that  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  in  the  glory 
of  God  the  Father."3  And  of  himself  he  says,  after  his  resur 
rection  :  "  All  power  is  given  me  in  heaven,  and  on  earth."4 

'  John  i.  1.         ?  Rom.  viii.  29.        »  phil.  H.  8—11.  4  Matt,  xxviii.  18. 

On  the  third  article  of  the  Creed.  37 

He  is,  also,  called  "  Lord,"  because  in  one  person  both  natures, 
the  human  and  divine,  are  united  ;  and  though  he  had  not  died 
for  us,  he  had  yet  deserved,  by  this  admirable  union,  to  be  con 
stituted  common  Lord  of  all  created  things,  particularly  of  those 
who,  in  all  the  fervour  of  their  souls,  obey  and  serve  him. 

It  remains,  therefore,  that  the  pastor  exhort  the  faithful  to  the  Matter  for 
consideration  of  these  his  claims  to  the  title  of  "our  Lord;"  exhortation 
that  we,  who,  taking  our  name  from  him  are  called  Christians,  this 
and  who  cannot  be  ignorant  of  the  extent  of  his  favours,  par-  cle. 
ticularly  in  having  enabled  us  to  understand  all  these  things  by 
faith,  may  know  the  strict  obligation  we,  above  all  others,  are 
under,  of  devoting  and  consecrating  ourselves  for  ever,  like  faith 
ful  servants,  to  our  Redeemer  and  our  Lord.  This  we  promised 
when,  at  the  baptismal  font,  we  were  initiated  and  introduced 
into  the  Church  of  God  ;  for  we  then  declared  that  we  renounced 
the  devil  and  the  world,  and  gave  ourselves  unreservedly  to 
Jesus  Christ.  But  if,  to  be  enrolled  as  soldiers  of  Christ,  we 
consecrated  ourselves  by  so  holy  and  solemn  a  profession  to  our 
Lord,  what  punishments  should  we  not  deserve  were  we,  after 
our  entrance  into  the  Church,  and  after  having  known  the  will 
and  laws  of  God,  and  received  the  grace  of  the  sacraments,  to 
form  our  lives  upon  the  laws  and  maxims  of  the  world  and  the 
devil ;  as  if,  when  cleansed  in  the  waters  of  baptism,  we  had 
pledged  our  fidelity  to  the  world  and  to  the  devil,  and  not  to 
Christ  our  Lord  and  Saviour  !  AVhat  heart  so  cold  as  not  to  be 
inilamed  with  love  by  the  benevolence  and  beneficence  exer 
cised  towards  us  by  so  great  a  Lord,  who,  though  holding  us  in 
his  power  and  dominion,  as  slaves  ransomed  by  his  blood,  yet 
embraces  us  with  such  ardent  love  as  to  call  us  not  servants,  but 
friends  and  brethren  ?"*  This,  assuredly,  supplies  the  most 
just  and,  perhaps,  the  strongest  claim  to  induce  us  always  to 
acknowledge,  venerate  and  adore  him  as  "  our  Lord." 



"  WHO  WAS  CONCEIVED  OF  THE  HOLY  GHOST"]  From  what  incarm- 
has  been  said  in  the  preceding  Article,  the  faithful  are  given  to  tion  °f  ,lh« 
understand  that,  in  delivering  us  from  the  relentless  tyranny  of  SonolGo<1- 
Satan,  God  has  conferred  a  singular  and  invaluable  blessing  on 
the  human  race :  but,  if  we  place  before  our  eyes  the  economy 
of  redemption,  in  it  the  goodness  and  beneficence  of  God  shine 
forth  with  incomparable  splendour  and  magnificence.   The  pas 
tor,  then,  will  enter  on  the  exposition  of  this  third  Article,  by 

1  John  xv.  14. 

38  TJie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

developing  the  grandeur  of  this  mystery,  which  the  Sacred  Scrip 
tures  very  frequently  propose  to  our  consideration  as  the  princi 
pal  source  of  our  eternal  salvation.  Its  meaning  he  will  teach  to 
be,  that  we  believe  and  confess  that  the  same  Jesus  Christ,  our 
only  Lord,  the  Son  of  God,  when  he  assumed  human  flesh  for 
us  in  the  womb  of  the  Virgin,  was  not  conceived  like  other  men, 
from  the  seed  of  man,  but  in  a  manner  transcending  the  order 
of  nature,  that  is,  by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost  ;l  so  that  the 
same  person,  remaining  God  as  he  was  from  eternity,  became 
man,a  what  he  was  not  befoie.  That  such  is  the  meaning  of 
these  words  is  clear  from  the  confession  of  the  Holy  Council  of 
Constantinople,  which  says  :  "  who  for  us  men,  and  for  our 
salvation,  came  down  from  heaven,  and  became  incarnate  by  the 
Holy  Ghost  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  and  WAS  MADE  MAN."  The 
same  truth  we  also  find  unfolded  by  St.  John  the  Evangelist, 
who  imbibed  from  the  bosom  of  the  Saviour  himself,  the  know 
ledge  of  this  most  profound  mystery.  When  he  had  thus  de 
clared  the  nature  of  the  divine  Word :  "  In  the  beginning  was 
the  Word,  and  the  Word  was  with  God,  and  the  Word  was 
God,"  he  concludes,  "  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh,  and  dwelt 
amongst  us."3  Thus,  "  the  Word,"  which  is  a  person  of  the  divine 
nature,  assumed  human  nature  in  such  a  manner  that  the  person 
of  both  natures  is  one  and  the  same :  and  hence  this  admirable 
union  preserved  the  actions  and  properties  of  both  natures,  and, 
as  we  read  in  St.  Leo,  that  great  pontiff,  "The  lowliness  of  the 
inferior,  was  not  consumed  in  the  glory  of  the  superior,  nor  did 
the  assumption  of  the  inferior  diminish  the  glory  of  the  supe 

The  work        But  as  an  explanation  of  the  words,  in  which  this  Article  is 
not  of  one,  expressed,  is  not  to  be  omitted,  the  pastor  will  teach  that  when 
Ihree1 Per-  we  say  that  the  Son  of  God  was  conceived  by  the  power  of  the 
sons  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  we  do  not  mean  that  this  Person  alone  of  the  Holy 
Trinity.       Trinity  accomplished  the  mystery  of  the  incarnation.    Although 
the  Son  alone  assumed  human  nature,  yet  all  the  Persons  of  the 
Trinity,  the  Father,  the  Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  were  authors 
of  this  mystery.     It  is  a  principle  of  Christian  faith,  that  what 
ever  God  does  extrinsically,  is  common  to  the  three  Persons, 
and  that  one  neither  does  more  than,  nor  acts  without  another. 
But  that  one  emanates  from  another  cannot  be  common  to  all ; 
for  the  Son  is  begotten  of  the  Father  only,  the  Holy  Ghost,  pro 
ceeds  from  the  Father  and  the  Son :  but  whatever  proceeds  from 
them  extrinsically,  is  the  work  of  the  three  Persons  without  dif 
ference  of  any  sort,  and  of  this  latter  description  is  the  incarna 
tion  of  the  Son  of  God. 

Why  speci-  Of  those  things,  notwithstanding,  that  are  common  to  all,  the 
ally  ami-  gacrej  Scriptures  often  attribute  some  to  one  person,  some  to 
th^Hoiy  another  :  thus,  to  the  Father  they  attribute  power  over  all  things  : 
Ghost.  to  the  Son,  wisdom  ;  to  the  Holy  Ghost  love  ;  and  hence,  as  the 
mystery  of  the  incarnation  manifests  the  singular  and  boundless 

i  Matt.  i.  20.        2  John  i.  14.        3  John  i.  1—14.        "  Serm.  i.  de  Nat. 

On  the  third  article  of  the  Creed.  39 

love  of  God  towards  us,  it  is,  therefore,  in  some  sort  peculiarly 
attributed  to  the  Holy  Ghost. 

In  this  mystery  we  perceive  that  some  things  were  done  which  In  what  na- 
transcend  the  order  of  nature,  some  by  the  power  of  nature :  !ural>  antl 
thus,  in  believing  that  the  body  of  Christ  was  formed  from  the  pematural." 
most  pure  blood  of  his  Virgin  Mother,  we  acknowledge  the 
operation  of  human  nature,  this  being  a  law  common  to  the  forma 
tion  of  all  human  bodies.  But  what  surpasses  the  order  of  nature 
and  human  comprehension  is,  that,  as  soon  as  the  Blessed  Virgin 
assented  to  the  announcement  of  the  angel  in  these  words,  "  Be 
hold  the  handmaid  of  the  Lord,  be  it  done  unto  me  according  to 
thy  word,"1  the  most  sacred  body  of  Christ  was  immediately 
formed,  and  to  it  was  united  a  rational  soul ;  and  thus,  in  the  same 
instant  of  time,  he  was  perfect  God  and  perfect  man.  That  this 
was  the  astonishing  and  admirable  work  of  the  Holy  Ghost  can 
not  be  doubted;  for  according  to  the  order  of  nature,  nobody, 
unless  after  a  certain  period  of  time,  can  be  animated  with  a  hu 
man  soul. 

Again,  and  it  should  overwhelm  us  with  astonishment ;    as  The  Divi- 
soon  as  the  soul  of  Christ  was  united  to  his  body,  the  Divinity  nity united 
became  united  to  both ;  and  thus  at  the  same  time  his  body  was  mamty  Of 
formed  and  animated,  and  the  Divinity  united  to  body  and  soul.  Christ. 
Hence,  at  the  same  instant,  he  was  perfect  God  and  perfect  man, 
and  the  most  Holy  Virgin,  having  at  the  same  moment,  conceiv 
ed  God  and  man,  is  truly  and  properly,  called  Mother  of  God  The  Virgin 
and  man.    This,  the  Angel  signified  to  her  when  he  said  :  "  Be-  [j^/J^j 
hold,  thou  shall  conceive  in  thy  wornb,  and  shall  bring  forth  a  Son,  and  man. 
and  thou  shall  call  his  name  Jesus ;  he  shall  be  great,  and  shall  be 
called  the  Son  of  ihe  Most  High."3    The  event  verified  the  pro 
phecy  of  Isaiah  :  "  Behold  a  Virgin  shall  conceive,  and  bring  forth 
a  Son."3    Elizabeth  also,  when,  filled  with  the  Holy  Ghost,  she 
understood  ihe  conceplion  of  the  Son  of  God,  declared  the  same 
truth  in  these  words :  "  Whence  is  this  to  me,  that  the  Mother 
of  my  Lord  should  come  to  me  ?"*     Bui,  as  the  body  of  Christ 
was  formed  of  the  pure  blood  of  the  immaculate  Virgin  wilhoul 
the  aid  of  man,  as  we  have  already  said,  and  by  the  sole  opera-  from  his 
tion  of  Ihe  Holy  Ghosl ;  so  also,  al  ihe  momenl  of  his  concep- 
tion,  his  soul  was  replenished  wilh  an  overflowing  fulness  of  the  grace. 
Spirit  of  God,  and  a  superabundance  of  all  graces  ;  for  God  gave 
not  to  him,  as  to  others  adorned  with  graces  and  holiness,  his 
Spirit  by  measure,  as  Si.  John  testifies  ;5  but  poured  into  his 
soul  ihe  plenilude  of  all  graces  so  abundanlly,  that  "  of  his  ful 
ness  we  have  all  received."8 

Although  possessing  thai  Spiril  by  which  holy  men  allained  Christ  the 
the  adoplion  of  sons  of  God,  he  cannol,  however,  be  called  ihe  Son  of  God 
adopted  Son  of  God  ;  for  being  the  Son  of 'God  by  nature,  the  Stnbayture> 
grace,  or  name  of  adoption  can,  on  no  account,  be  deemed  ap-  adoption, 
plicable  to  him. 

i  Luke  i.  38.        2  Luke  i.  31,  32.        3  isajah  vii.  14.        <  Luke  i  43. 
5  John  iii.  34.  6  John  i.  16. 

40  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

These  heads  comprise  the  substance  of  what  appeared  to  us  to 
demand  explanation  regarding  the  admirable  mystery  of  the  con- 
How  we      ception.  To  reap  from  them  abundant  fruit  of  salvation,  the  faith- 
are  to  reap  ful  should  particularly  recall  to  their  recollection,  and  frequent- 
rialvation*     ^  reflect,  that  it  is  God  who  assumed  human  flesh ;  but  that 
from  the      the  manner  of  its  assumption  transcends  the  limits  of  our  com- 
*$**?  °f     prehension,  not  to  say,  of  our  powers  of  expression  ;  finally,  that 
he  vouchsafed  to  become  man,  in  order  that  we  mortals  may  be 
regenerated  children  of  God.    When  to  these  subjects,  they  ^hall 
have  given  mature  consideration,  let  them,  in  the  humility  of 
faith,  believe  and  adore  all  the  mysteries  contained  in  this  Arti 
cle,  nor  indulge  a  curious  inquisitiveness  by  investigating  and 
scrutinizing   them< — an    attempt  scarcely  ever  unattended  with 

Christ  born  BORN  OF  THE  VIRGIN  MARY"]  These  words  comprise 
Virgin.  anotner  part  of  this  Article  of  the  Creed,  in  the  exposition  of 
which  the  pastor  should  exercise  considerable  diligence  ;  because 
the  faithful  are  bound  to  believe,  that  Christ  our  Lord  was  not 
only  conceived  by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  but  was  also 
"  born  of  the  Virgin  Mary."  The  words  of  the  Angel,  who 
first  announced  the  happy  tidings  to  the  world,  declare  with 
what  transports  of  joy,  and  emotions  of  delight,  the  belief  of  this 
mystery  should  be  meditated  by  us:  "Behold,"  says  he,  "I 
bring  you  good  tidings  of  great  joy,  that  shall  be  to  all  the  peo 
ple."1  The  song  chanted  by  the  heavenly  ho«t  clearly  conveys 
the  same  sentiments :  '•  Glory,"  say  they,  to  God  in  the  high 
est  :  and  on  earth,  peace  to  men  of  good-will."3  .  Hence,  also, 
began  the  fulfilment  of  the  splendid  promise  maOe  by  Almighty 
God  to  Abraham,  that  in  his  seed  all  the  natiovs  of  the  earth 
should  be  blessed  ;3  for  Mary,  whom  we  truly  proclaim  and 
venerate  as  Mother  of  God,  because  she  brought  'orth  him  who 
is,  at  once,  God  and  man,  was  descended  from  V>injy  David.4 
But  as  the  conception  itself  transcends  the  order  rf  nature,  so 
also,  the  birth  of  the  man-God  presents  to  our  ct  rtemplation 
nothing  but  what  is  divine. 

Manner  of  Besides,  a  circumstance  wonderful  beyond  expressioi  or  con- 
his  birth,  ception,  he  is  born  of  his  Mother  without  any  diminution  of  her 
maternal  virginity  ;  and  as  he  afterwards  went  forth  from  the 
sepulchre  whilst  it  was  closed  and  sealed,  and  entered  the  room 
in  which  his  disciples  were  assembled,  "  the  doors  being  shut;"5 
or,  not  to  depart  from  natural  events  which  we  witness  every 
day,  as  the  rays  of  the  sun  penetrate,  without  breaking  or  in 
juring,  in  the  least,  the  substance  of  glass  ;  after  alike,  but  more 
incomprehensible  manner,  did  Jesus  Christ  come  forth  from  his 
mother's  womb  without  injury  to  her  maternal  virginity,  which, 
immaculate  and  perpetual,  forms  the  just  theme  of  our  eulogy. 
This  was  the  work  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  who,  at  the  conception 
and  birth  of  the  Son,  so  favoured  the  Virgin  Mother  as  to  im- 

1  Luke  ii.  10.  2  Luke  ii.  14.  3  Gen.  xxii.  18.  4  Matt.  i.  1.  6. 

5  John  xx.  19. 

On  the  third  article  of  the  Creed.  41 

part  to  her  fecundity,  and  yet  preserve  inviolate  her  perpetual 

The  Apostle,  sometimes,  called  Jesus  Christ  the  second  Adam,  Christ 
and  institutes  a  comparison  between  him   and  the  first :  for  "  as  compared 
in  the  first  all  men  die,  so  in  the  second  all  are  made  alive  ;"*  M^da™' 
and  as  in  the  natural  order,  Adam  was  the  father  of  the  human  Eve. 
race  ;  so,  in  the  supernatural  order,  Christ  is  the  author  of  grace 
and  of  glory.    The  Virgin  Mother  we  may  also  compare  to  Eve, 
making  the  second  Eve,  that  is  Mary,  correspond  with  the  first; 
as  we  have  already  shown  that  the  second  Adam,  that  is,  Christ, 
corresponds  witli  the  first  Adam.   By  believing  the  serpent,  Eve 
entailed  malediction  and  death  on  mankind  ;2  and  Mary,  by  be 
lieving  the  Angel,  became  the  instrument  of  the  divine  goodness 
in  bringing  life  and  benediction  to  the  human  race.3  From  Eve  we 
are  born  children  of  wrath  ;  from  Mary  we  have  received  Jesus 
Christ,  and  through  him  are  regenerated  children  of  grace.     To 
Eve  it  was  said  :   "  In  sorrow  shall  thou  bring  forth  children  :"* 
Mary  was  exempt  from  this  law,  for  preserving  her  virginal  in 
tegrity  inviolate,  she  brought  forth  Jesus  the  Son  of  God,  with 
out  experiencing,  as  we  have  already  said,  any  sense  of  pain. 

The  mysteries  of  this  admirable  conception  and  nativity  being,  Types  ami 
therefore,  so  great  and  so  numerous,  it  accorded  with  the  views  figures  of 
of  Divine  Providence  to  signify  them  by  many  types  and  pro-  i/I^anT^ 
phesies.     Hence    the    Holy   Fathers    understood    many  things  nativity, 
which  we  meet  in  the  Sacred  Scriptures  to  relate  to  them,  par 
ticularly  that  gate  of  the  Sanctuary  which  Ezechiel  saw  closed  ;5 
the  stone  cut  out  of  the  mountain  without  hands,  which  became 
a  great  mountain  and  filled  the  universe  ;8   the  rod  of  Aaron, 
which  alone  budded  of  all  the  rods  of  the  princes  of  Israel  ;7 
and  the  bush  which  Moses  saw  burn  without  being  consumed.8 
The  holy  Evangelist  describes  in  detail  the  history  of  the  birth 
of  Christ,9  and,  as  the  pastor  can  easily  recur  to  the  Sacred 
Volume,  it  is  unnecessary  for  us  to  say  more  on  the  subject. 

But  he  should  labour  to  impress  deeply  on  the  minds  and  Thelessons 
hearts  of  the  faithful  these  mysteries,  "  which  were  written  for  which  'his 
our  instruction  ;"10  first,  that  by  the  commemoration  of  so  great  J^veys 
a  benefit  they  may  make  some  return  of  gratitude  to  God,  its 
author ;  and  next,  in  order  to  place  before  their  eyes,  as  a  mo 
del  for  imitation,  this  striking  and  singular  example  of  humility. 
What  can  be  more  useful,  what  better  calculated  to  subdue  the 
pride  and  haughtiness  of  the  human  heart,  than  to  reflect,  fre 
quently,  that  God  humbles  himself  in  such  a  manner  as  to  as 
sume  our  frailty  and  weakness,  in  order  to  communicate  to  us 
his  grace  and  glory — that  God  becomes  man,  and  that  he  "  at 
whose  nod,"  to  use  the  words  of  Scripture,  "the  pillars  of  hea 
ven  fear  and  tremble,"11  bows  his  supreme  and  infinite  majesty 
to  minister  to  man — that  he  whom  the  angels  adore  in  heaven 

1 1  Cor.  xv.  21,  22.  2  Eccl.  xxv.  33.        s  Eph.  i.  3.  1  Gen.  iii.  16. 

5  Ezech.  xliv.  2.  6  Dan.  ii.  35.  7  Num.  xvii.  8.          8  EXod.  iii.  2. 

9  Luke  ii.  I0  Rom.  xv.  4.  "  Job  xxvi.  11. 

4*  F 

42  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

is  born  on  earth ! !  When  such  is  the  goodness  of  God  towards 
us,  what.  I  ask,  what  should  we  not  do  to  testify  our  obedience 
to  his  will  ?  With  what  promptitude  and  alacrity  should  we 
not  love,  embrace,  and  perform  all  the  duties  of  Christian  hu 
mility  ?  The  faithful  should  also  know  the  salutary  lessons 
which  Christ  teaches  at  his  birth,  before  he  opens  his  divine 
lips  ; — he  is  born  in  poverty, — he  is  born  a  stranger  under  a  roof 
not  his  own,— he  is  born  in  a  lonely  crib — he  is  born  in  the  depth 
of  winter !  These  circumstances,  which  attend  the  birth  of  the 
man-God,  are  thus  recorded  by  St.  Luke  :  "  And  it  came  to  pass, 
that,  when  they  were  there,  her  days  were  accomplished  that  she 
should  be  delivered,  and  she  brought  forth  her  first-born  son,  and 
wrapped  him  up  in  swaddling  clothes,  and  laid  him  in  a  manger, 
because  there  was  no  room  for  them  in  the  inn."1  Could  the 
Evangelist  comprehend  under  more  humble  terms  the  majesty 
and  glory  that  filled  the  heavens  and  the  earth  ?  He  does  not  say, 
there  was  no  room  in  the  inn,  but  "  there  was  no  room  for  him 
who  says :  mine  is  the  earth  and  the  fulness  thereof  ;"a  and  this 
destitution  of  the  man-God  another  Evangelist  records  in  these 
words ;  "  He  came  unto  his  own,  and  his  own  received  him  not."3 
The  digni-  When  the  faithful  have  placed  these  things  before  their  eyes, 
ty  which  it  jet  t],em  a]so  reflect,  that  God  condescended  to  assume  the  low- 
coniers  on  ,.  •,  *  -\  r  a  •L  •  11-1, 

man.  liness  and  frailty  ol  our  flesh  in  order  to  exalt  man  to  the  nign- 

est  degree  of  dignity ;  for  this  single  reflection  alone  supplies 
sufficient  proof  of  the  exalted  dignity  of  man  conferred  on  him 
by  the  divine  bounty — that  he  who  is  true  and  perfect  God 
vouchsafed  to  become  man ;  so  that  we  may  now  glory  that  the 
Son  of  God  is  bone  of  our  bone,  and  flesh  of  our  flesh,  a  privi 
lege  not  given  to  angels,  "  for  no  where,"  says  the  apostle, 
"  doth  he  take  hold  of  the  angels :  but  of  the  seed  of  Abraham 
he  taketh  hold."4 

The  influ-  AVe  must  also  take  care,  that  these  singular  blessings  rise  not 
ence  which  m  judgment  against  us  ;  that,  as  at  Bethlehem,  the  place  of  his 
hav^on  his  nativity,  he  was  denied  a  dwelling  ;  so  also,  now  that  he  is  no 
life.  longer  born  in  human  flesh,  he  be  not  denied  a  dwelling  in  our 

hearts,  in  which  he  may  be  spiritually  born :  for,  through  an 
earnest  desire  for  our  salvation,  this  is  the  object  of  his  most 
anxious  solicitude.  As  then,  by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
and  in  a  manner  superior  to  the  order  of  nature,  he  was  made 
man  and  was  born,  was  holy  and  even  holiness  itself;  so  does 
it  become  our  duty  "  to  be  born,  not  of  blood  nor  of  the  will  of 
flesh,  but  of  God  ;"5  to  walk,  as  new  creatures  in  newness  of 
spirit  :8  and  to  preserve  that  holiness  and  purity  of  soul  that  be 
come  men  regenerated  by  the  Spirit  of  God.7  Thus  shall  we 
reflect  some  faint  image  of  the  holy  conception  and  nativity  of  the 
Son  of  God,  which  are  the  objects  of  our  firm  faith,  and  believ 
ing  which  we  revere  and  adore  "in  a  mystery,  wisdom  of  God 
which  was  hidden."8 

iLukeii.  6,  7.  2  Ps.  xlix.  12.  3  john  i.  11.  "Heb.iilG. 

i  John  i.  13.  6  Rom.  vi.  4—7.          7  2  Cor.  iii.  18.          8  i  Cor.  ii.  7 

On  the  fourth  article  of  the  Creed.  43 



necessary  the  knowledge  of  this  Article,  and  how  assiduous  the  £nowledgo 
pastor  should  be  in  stirring  up,  in  the  minds  of  the  faithful,  the  and  fre-  ° 
frequent  recollection  of  our  Lord's  passion,  we  learn  from  the 
apostle  when  he  says,  that  he  knows  nothing  but  Christ,  and 
him  crucified.1     In  illustrating  this  subject,  therefore,  the  great 
est  care  and  pains  should  be  taken  by  the  pastor,  that  the  faith 
ful,  excited  by  the  remembrance  of  so  great  a  benefit,  may  be 
entirely  devoted  to  the  contemplation  of  the  goodness  and  love 
of  God  towards  us. 

The  first  part  of  this  Article  (of  the  second  we  shall  treat  here- 
after,)  proposes  to  our  belief,  that  when  Pontius  Pilate  governed  ^L°e 
the  province  of  Judea,  under  Tiberius  Caesar,  Christ  the  Lord  proposes  to 
was  nailed  to  a  cross.  Having  been  seized  as  a  malefactor,  our  belief- 
mocked,  outraged,  and  tortured,  in  various  forms,  he  was  finally 
crucified.  Nor  can  it  be  matter  of  doubt  that  his  soul,  as  to  its  < 
inferior  part,  was  not  insensible  to  these  torments ;  for  as  he 
really  assumed  human  nature,  it  is  a  necessary  consequence  that 
he  really,  and  in  his  soul,  experienced  a  most  acute  sense  of 
pain.  Hence  these  words  of  the  Saviour :  "  My  soul  is  sorrow 
ful,  even  unto  death."3  Although  human  nature  was  united  to 
the  divine  person,  he  felt  the  bitterness  of  his  passion  as  acutely 
as  if  no  such  union  had  existed  ;  because  in  the  one  person  of  Je 
sus  Christ  were  preserved  the  properties  of  both  natures,  human 
and  divine  ;  and,  therefore,  what  was  passible  and  mortal  remain 
ed  passible  and  mortal ;  and  again,  what  was  impassible  and 
immortal,  that  is  his  divine  nature,  continued  impassible  and 

But,  if  we  find  it  here  recorded  with  such  historical  minute-  Why  the 
ness,  that  Jesus  Christ  suffered  when  Pilate  was  procurator  of  ^^a^1* 
Judea,3  the  pastor  will  explain  the  reason — it  is,  that  by  fixing  specially 
the  time,  as  the  apostle  does,  in  the  sixth  chapter  of  his  first  recorded. 
Epistle  to  Timothy,  so  important  and  so  necessary  an  event 
may  be  ascertained  by  all  with  greater  certainty ;  and  to  show 
that  the  event  verified  the  prediction  of  the  Saviour;    "They 
shall  deliver  him  to  the  Gentiles,  to  be  mocked,  and  scourged,  and 

That  he  suffered  the  particular  death  of  the  cross  is  also  to  be 
traced  to  the  economy  of  the  divine  councils,  "  that  whence  death 
came,  thence  life  might  arise."  The  serpent,  which  overcame 
our  first  parents  by  the  fruit  of  the  tree,  was  himself  overcome 
by  Christ  on  the  wood  of  the  cross.  Many  reasons,  which  the 

1 1  Cor.  ii.  2.      2  Mat.  xxvi.  38.    Mark  xiv.  34.      3  1  Tim.  vi.  13.    <  Mat.  xx.  19. 


part  of  this 
article  not 
to  be  omit 

and  prophe 
cies  of  the 
passion  and 
death  of 
the  Sa 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Holy  Fathers  have  evolved  in  detail,  may  be  adduced  to  sho\« 
the  congruity  of  the  Saviour's  having  suffered  the  death  of  the 
cross,  rather  than  any  other ;  but  enough  that  the  faithful  be  in 
formed  by  the  pastor,  that  that  species  of  death,  because  con 
fessedly  the  most  ignominious  and  humiliating,  was  chosen  by 
the  Saviour,  as  most  consonant,  and  best  suited  to  the  plan  of 
redemption ;  for  not  only  amongst  the  Gentiles  was  the  death 
of  the  cross  deemed  execrable  and  loaded  with  disgrace  and  in 
famy,  but  also  amongst  the  Jews  ;  for  in  the  law  of  Moses,  the 
man  is  pronounced  "  accursed,  who  hangeth  on  a  tree."1 

But  the  historical  part  of  this  Article,  which  has  been  narrated 
by  the  Holy  Evangelists  with  the  most  minute  exactness,  is  not 
to  be  omitted  by  the  pastor ;  in  order  that  the  faithful  may  be 
familiarly  acquainted  with,  at  least,  the  principle  heads  of  this 
mystery,  which  are  of  more  immediate  necessity  to  confirm  the 
truth  of  our  faith.  For  on  this  Article,  as  on  a  sort  of  founda-" 
tion,  rest  the  religion  and  faith  of  Christians,  and  on  this  foun 
dation,  when  once  laid,  the  superstructure  rises  with  perfect 
security.  If  any  other  truth  of  Christianity  presents  difficulties 
to  the  mind  of  man,  the  mystery  of  the  cross  must,  assuredly, 
be  considered  to  present  still  greater  difficulties.  We  can  scarce 
ly  be  brought  to  think  that  our  salvation  depends  on  the  cross,  and 
on  him,  who  for  us,  was  fastened  to  its  wood.  But  in  this,  as  the 
apostle  says,  we  may  admire  the  supreme  wisdom  of  divine 
providence;  "for  seeing  that  in  the  wisdom  of  God,  the  world 
by  wisdom  knew  not  God :  it  pleaseth  God  by  the  foolishness 
of  our  preaching,  to  save  them  that  believe."3  We  are  not, 
therefore,  to  be  surprised,  that  the  Prophets,  before  the  coming 
of  Christ,  and  the  apostles  after  his  death  and  resurrection, 
laboured  so  industriously  to  convince  mankind  that  lie  was  the 
Redeemer  of  the  world,  and  to  bring  them  under  the  power  and 
obedience  of  him  who  was  crucified. 

Knowing,  therefore,  that  nothing  is  so  far  above  the  reach  of 
human  reason  as  the  mystery  of  the  cross,  Almighty  God,  im 
mediately  from  the  fall  of  Adam,  ceased  not,  both  by  figures  and 
by  the  oracles  of  the  Prophets,  to  signify  the  death  by  which 
his  Son  was  to  die.  Not  to  dwell  on  these  figures,  Abel  who 
fell  a  victim  to  the  envy  of  his  brother,3  Isaac  who  was  com 
manded  to  be  offered  in  sacrifice,4  the  lamb  immolated  by  the 
Jews  on  their  departure  from  Egypt,5  and  also  the  brazen  ser 
pent  lifted  up  by  Moses  in  the  desert,6  were  all  figures  of  the 
passion  and  death  of  Christ  the  Lord.  That  this  event  was  fore 
told  by  many  Prophets,  is  a  fact  too  well  known  to  require  de- 
velopement  here.  Not  to  speak  of  David,  whose  Psalms  em 
brace  the  principal  mysteries  of  redemption,7  the  oracles  of 
Isaias  are  so  clear  and  graphic,8  that  he  may  be  said  rather  to 
have  recorded  a  past,  than  predicted  a  future  event.9 

i  Deut.  xxi.  23.    Gal.  iii.  13.  2  ]  Cor.  i.  21.  «  Gen.  iv.  8. 

4  Gen.  xxii.  G — 8.         5  Exod.  xi.  5 — 7.         6  Num.  xxi.  8,  9.  John  iii.  14. 
7  Psalms  ii.  xxi.  Ixvi.  cix.      8  Isai.  liii.        9  Hier.  Episl.  ad  Faulin.  ante  finem. 

On  the  fourth  article  of  the  Creed.  45 

"DEAD  AND  BURIED"]  When  explaining  these  words,  the  pas-  Christ 
tor  will  propose  to  the  belief  of  the  faithful,  that  Jesus  Christ,  really  died 
after  his  crucifixion,  was  really  dead  and  buried.    It  is  not  with 
out  just  reason  that  this  is  proposed  as  a  separate  and  distinct  ob 
ject  of  belief;  there  were  some  who  denied  his  death  upon  the 
cross.     The  apostles,  therefore,  were  justly  of  opinion,  that  to 
such  an  error  should  be  opposed  the  doctrine  of  faith  contained 
in  this  Article  of  the  Creed,  the  truth  of  which  is  placed  beyond 
the  possibilty  of  doubt,  by  the  concurring  testimony  of  all  the 
Evangelists,  who  record  that  Jesus  "yielded  up  the  ghost."1 
Moreover,  as  Christ  was  true  and  perfect  man,  he  of  course, 
was,  also,  capable  of  dying,  and  death  takes  place  by  a  separa 
tion  of  the  soul  from  the  body.     When,  therefore,  we  say  that 
Jesus  died,  Ave  mean  that  his  soul  was  disunited  from  his  body ; 
not  that  his  divinity  was  so  separated.     On  the  contrary,  we  Hisdivini- 
firmly  believe  and  profess  that,  when  his  soul  was  dissociated  ty  united  to 
from  his  body,  his  divinity  continued  always  united  both  to  his  {^f0^"^ 
body  in  the  sepulchre,  and  to  his  soul  in  Limbo.    It  became  the  separate'^ 
Son  of  God  to  die,  "  that  through  death  he  might  destroy  him  by  death- 
who  had  the  empire  of  death,  that  is  to  say,  the  devil ;    and 
might  deliver  them,  who  through  fear  of  death,  were  all  their  life 
time  subject  to  servitude."2 

It  was  the  peculiar  privilege  of  the  Redeemer  to  have  died  His  death 
when  he  himself  decreed  to  die,  and  to  have  died,  not  so  much  voluntary, 
by  external  violence,  as  by  internal  assent ;  not  only  his  death, 
but  also  its  time  and  place  were  ordained  by  him,  'as  we  learn 
from  these  words  of  Isaias :  "  He  was  offered,  because  it  was 
his  own  will."3  The  Redeemer,  before  his  passion,  declared 
the  same  of  himself:  "I  lay  down  my  life,"  says  he,  "that  I 
may  take  it  again.  No  man  taketh  it  away  from  me ;  but  I 
lay  it  down  of  myself,  and  I  have  power  to  lay  it  down  ;  and  I 
have  power  to  take  it  again."4  As  to  time  and  place,  when 
Herod  insidiously  sought  the  life  of  the  Saviour,  he  said  :  "  Go, 
and  tell  that  fox :  behold  I  cast  out  devils,  and  perform  cures 
this  day  and  to-morrow,  and  the  third  day  I  am  consummate. 
But  yet  I  must  walk  this  day,  and  to-morrow,  and  the  day  fol 
lowing,  because  it  cannot  be  that  a  prophet  perish  out  of  Jeru 
salem."5  He,  therefore,  offered  himself  not  involuntarily  or  by 
external  coaction  ;  but  of  his  own  free  will.  Going  to  meet  his 
enemies,  he  said,  "  I  am  he;8  and  all  the  punishmentswhich  in 
justice  and  cruelty  inflicted  on  him  he  endureu  voluntarily. 

When  we  meditate  on  the  sufferings  and  torments  of  the  Re-  and,  mere- 
deemer,  nothing  is  better  calculated  to  excite  in  our  souls,  sen-  fore. fhe 
timents  of  lively  gratitude  and  love,  than  to  reflect  that  he  endur-  ciamfio 
ed  them  voluntarily.     Were  any  one  to  endure,  by  compulsion,  our  grati- 
every  species  of  suffering,  for  our  sake,  we  should  deem  his  {llde  and 
claims  to  our  gratitude  very  doubtful ;  but  were  he  to  endure    ' 
death  freely,  and  for  our  sake  only,  having  had  it  in  his  power 

1  Mat.  xxvii.  50.    Mark  xv.  37.    Luke  xxiii.  46.    John  xix.  30. 

2  Heb.  ii.  10.  14,  15.    3  isaias  Hji.  7.     4  J0hn  x.  ylt  jg.     5  Luke  xiii.  32,  33. 

6  John  xviii.  5. 

46  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent' 

to  avoid  it;  this  indeed  is  a  favour  eo  overwhelming,  as  to  de 
prive  even  the  most  grateful  heart,  not  only  of  the  power  of  re 
turning  due  thanks,  but  even  of  adequately  feeling  the  extent  of 
the  obligation.  We  may  hence  form  an  idea  of  the  transcendant 
and  intense  love  of  Jesus  Christ  towards  us,  and  of  his  divine 
and  boundless  claims  to  our  gratitude. 

Why  the          But  if,  when  we  confess  that  he  was  buried,  we  make  this,  as 
word  "  bu-  it  were,  a  distinct  part  of  the  Article,  it  is  not  because  it  presents 
mentioned   an7  difficulty  which  is  not  implied  in  what  we  have  said  of  his 
in  this         death;  for  believing,  as  we  do,  that  Christ  died,  we  can  also 
article.        easily  believe  that  he  was  buried.     The  word  "  buried"   was 
added  in  the  creed,  first,  that  his  death  may  be  rendered  more 
certain,  for  the  strongest  proof  of  a  person's  death  is  the  inter 
ment  of  his  body ;  and,  secondly,  to  render  the  miracle  of  his 
resurrection  more  authentic  and  illustrious.     It  is  not,  however, 
our  belief,  that  the  body  of  Christ  was  alone  interred :    these 
words  propose,  as  the  principal  object  of  our  belief,  that  God 
was  buried  ;  as,  according  to  the  rule  of  Catholic  faith,  we  also 
say  with  the  strictest  truth,  that  God  was  born  of  a  virgin,  that 
God  died ;    for,  as  the  divinity  was  never  separated  from  his 
body  which  was  laid  in  the  sepulchre,  we  truly  confess  that 
God  was  buried. 

The^body  As  to  the  place  and  manner  of  his  burial,  what  the  Evangelists 
incorrupt  recor(l  on  these  subjects  will  be  found  sufficient  for  all  the  pur- 
in  the  se-  poses  of  the  pastor's  instructions.1  There  are,  however,  two 
pulchre.  things  which  demand  particular  attention  ;  the  one,  that  the  body 
of  Christ  was,  in  no  degree,  corrupted  in  the  sepulchre,  accord 
ing  to  the  prediction  of  the  Prophet:  "  Thou  wilt  not  give  thy 
Burial, pas-  Holy  One  to  see  corruption;3  the  other,  and  it  regards  the  seve- 
sion,  and  ral  parts  of  this  Article,  that  burial,  passion,  and  also  death,  ap- 
toOirisfas  P"X  to  Jesus  Christ,  not  as  God,  but  as  man:  to  suffer  and 
man,  not  as  die  are  incidental  to  human  nature  only,  although  they  are  also 
Go(i-  attributed  to  God,  because  predicated  with  propriety  of  that  per 

son  who  is,  at  once,  perfect  God  and  perfect  man. 

Dignity  of  When  the  faithful  have  once  attained  the  knowledge  of  these 
lufiers  things,  the  pastor  will  next  proceed  to  explain  those  particulars 
of  the  passion  and  death  of  Christ,  which  may  enable  them,  if 
not  to  comprehend,  at  least  to  contemplate  the  infinitude  of  so 
stupendous  a  mystery.  And,  first,  we  are  to  consider  who  it  is 
who  suffers.— To  declare,  or  even  to  conceive  in  thought,  his 
dignity,  is  not  given  to  man. — Of  him,  St.  John  says,  that  he 
is  "the  Word  which  was  with  God;"3and  the  apostle  describes 
him  in  these  sublime  terms :  "  this  is  he,  whom  God  hath  ap 
pointed  heir  of  all  things,  by  whom  also  he  made  the  world  ; 
who  being  the  brightness  of  his  glory,  and  the  figure  of  Us 
substance,  and  upholding  all  things  by  the  word  of  his  power, 
making  purgation  of  sins,  sitteth  on  the  right  hand  of  the 
majesty  on  high."4  In  a  word,  Jesus  Christ,  the  man-God,  suf- 

i  Mat.  xxvii.  60.    Mark  xv.  46.    Luke  xxiii.  53.    John  xix.  38. 
'  Psalm  xv.  10.    Acts  ii.  31.  3  J0hn  i.  1,  2.  «  Heb.  i.  2,  3. 

On  the  fourth  article  of  the  Creed.  47 

fers  !  The  Creator  suffers  for  the  creature — The  Master  for  the 
servant — He  suffers,  by  whom  the  elements,  the  heavens,  men 
and  angels  were  created,  "of  whom,  by  whom,  and  iu  whom, 
are  all  things."1 

It  cannot,  therefore,  be  matter  of  surprise  that,  whilst  he  ago-  Reflection, 
nized  under  such  an  accumulation  of  torments,  the  whole  frame 
of  the  universe  was  convulsed,  and,  as  the  Scriptures  inform  us, 
"  the  eartn  trembled,  and  the  rocks  were  rent,  and  the  sun  was 
darkened,  and  there  was  darkness  all  over  the  earth."3  If,  then, 
even  mute  and  inanimate  nature  sympathized  with  the  sufferings 
of  her  dying  Lord,  let  the  faithful  conceive,  if  they  can,  with 
what  torrents  of  tears  they,  "  the  living  stones  of  the  edifice,"3 
should  evince  their  sorrow. 

The  reasons  why  the  Saviour  suffered  are  also  to  be  explain-  Reasons 

ed,  that  thus  the  greatness  and  intensity  of  the  divine  love  to-  whyhesu» 

i  ,1  °  c  T.  V,,       ,  ,  .  ,   lered :  firs 

wards  us,  may  the  more  fully  appear.     Should  it  then  be  asked  reason,  his 

why  the  Son  of  God  underwent  the  torments  of  his  most  bitter  love  of  us. 
passion,  we  shall  find  the  principal  causes  in  the  hereditary 
contagion  of  primeval  guilt ;  in  the  vices  and  crimes  which  have 
been  perpetrated  from  the  beginning  of  the  world  to  the  present 
day;  and  in  those  which  shall  be  perpetrated  to  the  consumma 
tion  of  time.  In  his  death  and  passion  the  Son  of  God  contem 
plated  the  atonement  of  all  the  sins  of  all  ages,  with  a  view  to 
efface  them  for  ever,  by  offering  for  them  to  his  Eternal  Father, 
a  superabundant  satisfaction  ;  and  thus  the  principal  cause  of  his 
passion  will  be  found  in  his  love  of  us. 

Besides,  to  increase  the  dignity  of  this  mystery,  Christ  not  Second 
only  suffered  for  sinners;  but  the  very  authors  and  ministers  of  r^ason' to 

,,  J ,  ,  .  J  alone  lor 

all  the  torments  he  endured  were  sinners.     Of  this  the  apostle  original 
reminds  us  in  these  words  addressed  to  the  Hebrews :  "  Think,  and  actual 
diligently,  on  him  who  endured  such  opposition  from  sinners  sm- 
against    himself;    that   you    be    not  wearied,  fainting  in    your 
minds."4   In  this  guilt  are  involved  all  those  who  fall  frequently 
into  sin;  for,  as  our  sins  consigned  Christ  our  Lord  to  the  death 
of  the  cross,  most  certainly,  those  who  wallow  in  sin  and  ini 
quity,  as  far  as  depends  on  them,  "  crucify  to  themselves  again 
the  Son  of  God,  and  make  a  mockery  of  him."5    This  our  guilt 
takes  a  deeper  die  of  enormity  when  contrasted  with  that  of  the 
Jews:  according  to  the  testimony  of  the  apostle,  "if  they  had 
known  it,  they  never  would  have  crucified  the  Lord  of  Glory  :"6 
whilst  we,  on  the  contrary,  professing  to  know  him,  yet  denying 
him  by  our  actions,  seem,  in  some  sort,  to  lay  violent  hands  on 

But  that  Christ  the  Lord  was  also  delivered  over  to  death  by  Christ  del: 
the  Father  and  by  himself,  we  learn  from  these  words  of  Isaias :  ^ed^t^r 
"For  the  wickedness  of  my  people  have  I  struck  him;"8  and  a  the  Father 
little  before,  when,  filled  with  the  Spirit  of  God,  he  sees  the  ail(l  by 


•  Rom.  xi.  36.  2  Mat.  xxvii.  51.    Luke  xxiii.  44,  45.  3  i  peter  ii.  5. 

*  Heb.  xii.  3.  *  Heb.  vi.  6.  «  1  Cor.  ii.  8-  ^  Tit.  i.  16. 

8  Isaias  liii.  8. 

of  his 


48  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Lord  covered  with  stripes  and'wounds,  the  same  prophet  says 
"  We  all,  like  sheep,  have  gone  astray,  every  one  hath  turned 
aside  into  his  own  way  ;  and  the  Lord  hath  laid  on  him  the  'ni- 
quities  of  us  all."1  But  of  the  Saviour  it  is  written,  "  if  he  will 
lay  down  his  life  for  sin,  he  shall  see  a  long-lived  seed."3  This 
the  apostle  expresses  in  language  still  stronger  when,  on  the 
other  hand,  he  wishes  to  show  us  how  confidently  we  should 
trust  in  the  boundless  mercy  and  goodness  of  God :  "  He  that 
spared  not  even  his  own  Son,"  says  the  apostle,  "but  delivered 
him  up  for  us  all,  how  hath  he  not  also,  with  him,  given  us  all 
things  ?"3 

The  next  subject  of  the  pastor's  instruction  is  the  bitterness 
of  the  Redeemer's  passion.  If,  however,  we  bear  in  mind  that 
"his  sweat  became  as  drops  of  blood,  trinkling  down  upon  the 
ground  ;"*  and  this,  at  the  sole  anticipation  of  the  torments  and 
agony  which  he  was  soon  after  to  endure,  we  must,  at  once, 
perceive  that  his  sorrows  admitted  of  no  increase  ;  for  if,  and 
this  sweat  of  blood  proclaims  it,  the  very  idea  of  the  impending 
evils  was  so  overwhelming,  what  are  we  to  suppose  their  actual 
endurance  to  have  been  ? 

That  our  Lord  suffered  the  most  excruciating  torments  of  mind 
and  body  is  but  too  well  ascertained.  In  the  first  place,  there  was 
no  part  of  his  body  that  did  not  experience  the  most  agonising 
torture — his  hands  and  feet  were  fastened  with  nails  to  the  cross — 
his  head  was  pierced  with  thorns  and  smitten  with  a  reed — his 
face  was  befouled  with  spittle  and  buffeted  with  blows — his 
whole  body  was  covered  with  stripes — Men  of  all  ranks  and 
conditions  were  also  gathered  together  "  against  the  Lord  and 
against  his  Christ."5 — Jews  and  Gentiles  were  the  advisers,  the 
authors,  the  ministers  of  his  passion — Judas  betrayed  him5 — 
Peter  denied  him7 — all  the  rest  deserted  him8 — and,  whilst  he 
hangs  from  the  instrument  of  his  execution,  are  we  not  at  a 
loss  which  to  deplore,  his  agony  or  his  ignominy — or  both  ? 
Surely  no  death  more  shameful,  none  more  cruel  could  have  been 
devised  than  that  which  was  the  ordinary  punishment  of  guilty 
and  atrocious  malefactors  only — a  death  the  tediousness  of  which 
aggravated  the  protraction  of  its  exquisite  pain  and  excruciating 

IV-  torture  !  His  agony  was  increased  by  the  very  constitution  and 
frame  of  his  body.  Formed  by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
it  was  more  perfect  and  better  organised  than  the  bodies  of  other 
men  can  be,  and  was,  therefore,  endowed  with  a  superior  suscep 
tibility  of  pain,  and  a  keener  sense  of  the  torments  which  it 

V  endured  :  and  as  to  his  interior  anguish  of  mind,  that,  too,  was 
no  doubt  extreme  ;  for  tnose  amongst  the  saints  who  had  to  en 
dure  torments  and  tortures,  were  not  without  consolation  from 
above,  which  enabled  them  not  only  to  bear  their  violence  pa 
tiently,  but,  in  many  instances,  to  feel,  in  the  very  midst  of  them, 
elate  with  interior  "joy.  "I  rejoice,"  says  the  apostle,  "in  my 


1  Isaias  liii.  6. 
Psalm  ii.  2. 

2  Isaias  liii.  10. 
6  Matr.  xxvi.  47. 

3  Rom.  viii.  32.  <  Luke  xxii.  44 

i  Mark  xiv.  68. 70,  71.       8  Matt  xxvi.  56 

On  the  fourth  article  of  the  Creed.  4U 

sufferings  for  you,  and  fill  up  those  things  that  are  wanting  of 
the  sufferings  of  Christ,  in  my  flesh  for  his  body,  which  is  the 
Church  ,"*  and  in  another  place,  "  I  am  filled  with  comfort;  I 
exceedingly  aoound  with  joy  in  all  our  tribulation."3  Christ  our 
Lord  tempered  with  no  admixture  of  sweetness  the  bitter  chalice 
of  his  passion ;  but  permitted  his  human  nature  to  feel  as  acutely, 
every  species  of  torment,  as  if  he  were  only  man,  and  not,  also, 

The  blessings  and  advantages  which  flow  to  the  human  race,  The  bloss- 
from  the  passion  of  Christ,  alone  remain  to  be  explained.     In  in,^?  ?f. 
the  first  place,  then,  the  passion  of  our  Lord  was  our  deliverance  the  plente- 
from  sin  ;  for,  as  St.  John  says  :  "  He  hath  loved  us  and  washed  oiw  source 
us  from  our  sins  in  his  own  blood  ;"3  "  He  hath  quickened  you 
together  with  him  ;"  says  the  Apostle,  "  forgiving  you  all  offen 
ces,  blotting  out  the  hand  writing  of  the  decree  that  was  against 
us,  which  was  contrary  to  us,  and  he  hath  taken  away  the  same, 
fastening  it  to  the  cross."4     He  has  rescued  us  from  the  tyranny        If 
of  the  devil,  for  our  Lord  himself  says  ;  "  Now  is  the  judgment 
of  the  world  ;  now  shall  the  prince  of  this  world  be  cast  out;  and  I, 
if  I  be  lifted  up  from  the  earth,  will  draw  all  things  to  myself."5 
He  discharged  the  punishment  due  to  our  sins  ;  and,  as  no  sa-        rjj. 
crifice  more  grateful  and  acceptable  could  have  been  offered  to         iy. 
God,  he  reconciled  us  to  the  Father,6  appeased  his  wrath,  and 
propitiated   his  justice.     Finally,  by  atoning  for  our  sins,  he 
opened  to  us  heaven,  which  was  closed   by  the  common  sin  of 
mankind,  according  to  these  words  of  the  Apostle  ;  "  We  have, 
therefore,  brethren,  a  confidence  in  the  entering  into  the  Holies 
by  the  blood  of  Christ."7 

Nor  are  we  without  a  type  and  figure  of  this  mystery  in  the  Type  am) 
old  law  ;  those  who  were  prohibited  to  return  into  their  native  fig"1"60'" 
country,  before  the  death  of  the  high-priest,8  typified,  that,  until 
the  supreme  and  eternal  High-Priest,  Christ  Jesus,  had  died,  and 
by  dying  opened  heaven  to  those  who,   purified   by  the   sacra 
ments,  and  gifted  with  faith,  hope,  and  charity,  become  partakers 
of  his  passion  ;   no  one,   however  just  may  have  been  his  life, 
could  gain  admission  into  his  celestial  country. 

The  pastor  will  teach  that  all  these   inestimable  and  divine  Christ  pur- 
blessings  flow  to  us  from  the   passion  of  Christ;  first,  because  chased  our 
the  satisfaction  which  Jesus  Christ  has,  in  an  admirable  manner,  rf0(Jiemi>" 
made  to  his  Eternal  Father  for  our  sins,  is   full  and  complete  ; 
and  the  price  which  he  paid  for  our  ransom  not  only  equals  but 
far  exceeds  the  debts  contracted  by  us.     Again,  the  sacrifice  was 
most  acceptable  to  God,  for  when  offered  by  his  Son  on  the  altar 
of  the  cross,  it  entirely  appeased  his   wrath   and   indignation. 
This  the  Apostle  teaches,  when  he  says  :  "  Christ  loved  us,  and 
delivered  himself  for  us,  an  oblation  and  a  sacrifice  to  God  for 
an   odour  of  sweetness. "9     Of  the   redemption  which  he  pur 
chased   the  prince  of  the  Apostles  says  :  "  You  Avere  not  re- 

i  Coloss.  i.  24.  2  2  Cor.  vii.  4.  3  Rev.  i.  5.  <  Col.ii.  13, 1 1. 

s  John  xii.  31,  32.          G2Cor.v.  19.  ?  Heb.  x.  19.         8  Num-xxxv.  25, 

9  Eph.  v.  2.        5  Q 

50  TJie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

deemed  with  corruptible  tilings,  as  gold  and  silver,  from  you. 
vain  conversations  of  the  tradition  of  your  fathers  ;  but  with  the 
precious  blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb  unspotted  and  undefiled."1 
In  his  pas-  Besides  these  inestimable  blessings,  we  have  also  received 
gion  he  has  another  of  the  highest  importance.  In  the  passion  alone,  we 
example  of  have  the  most  illustrious  example  of  the  exercise  of  every  virtue, 
every  vir-  Patience,  and  humility,  and  exalted  charity,  and  meekness,  and 
obedience,  and  unshaken  firmness  of  soul,  riot  only  in  suffering1 
for  justice-sake,  but  also  in  meeting  death,  are  so  conspicuous  in 
the  suffering  Saviour,  that  we  may  truly  say,  that,  on  the  day 
of  his  passion  alone,  he  offered,  in  his  own  person,  a  living  ex 
emplification  of  all  the  moral  precepts,  which  he  inculcated  du 
ring  the  entire  time  of  his  public  ministry.  This  exposition  of 
the  saving  passion  of  Christ  the  Lord,  we  have  given  briefly — 
Would  to  God  !  that  these  mysteries  were  always  present  to  our 
minds,  and  that  we  learned  to  suffer,  to  die,  and  to  be  buried 
with  Christ ;  that,  cleansed  from  the  stains  of  sin,  and  rising 
with  him  to  newness  of  life,  we  may  at  length,  through  his 
grace  and  mercy,  be  found  worthy  to  be  made  partakers  of  the 
glory  of  his  celestial  kingdom. 



Know-  "  HE  DESCENDED  INTO  HELL"]     To  know  the  glory  of  the  se- 

ledge  of      pulture  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  of  which  we  have  last  treated, 
most'Ym-     is  highly  important ;  but  of  still  higher  importance  is  it  to  the 
portant.       faithful  to  know  the  splendid  triumphs  which  he  obtained,   by 
having  subdued  the  devil  and  despoiled  the  powers  of  hell.     Of 
these  triumphs,  and,  also,  of  'his  resurrection,  we  are  now  about 
to  speak  ;  and,  although  the  latter  presents  to  us  a  subject  which 
might  with   propriety,  be  treated  under  a  separate  and  distinct 
head,  yet,  following  the  example  of  the  holy  Fathers,  we  have 
deemed  it  judicious  to  imbody  it  with  his  descent  into  hell. 
What  its          In  the  first  part  of  this  Article,  then,  we  profess  that,  imme- 
firet  part     djately  after  the  death  of  Christ,  his  soul  descended  into  hell, 
and  dwelt  there  whilst  his  body  remained  in  the  grave  :  and  also 
that  the  same  Person  of  Christ  was,  at  the  same  time,  in  hell 
and  in  the  sepulchre.     Nor  should  this  excite  our  surprise  ;  for 
we  have  already,  frequently  said,  that  although  his  soul  was  se 
parated  from  his  body,  his  divinity  was  never  separated  from 
soul  or  body. 

Meaning  of  But  as  the  pastor,  by  explaining  the  meaning  of  the  word 
'hh  n°r-d  hell,  'n  th*s  P*ace>  may  tnrow  considerable  light  on  the  exposi- 
fliisArtide  tion  of  this  Article,  it  is  to  be  observed,  that  by  the  word  hell,  is 

•1  Pet.i.  18.  19. 

On  the  fifth  article  of  the  Creed.  51 

not  here  meant  the  sepulchre,  as  some  have  not  less  impiously 
than  ignorantly,  imagined  ;  for,  in  the  preceding  Article  we 
learned  that  Christ  was  buried  :  and  there  was  no  reason  whv 
the  Apostles,  in  delivering  an  article  of  faith,  should  repeat  the 
same  thing  in  other  and  more  obscure  terms.  Hell,  then,  here 
signifies  those  secret  abodes  in  which  are  detained  the  souls  that 
have  not  been  admitted  to  the  regions  of  bliss  ;  a  sense  in  which 
the  word  is  frequently  used  in  Scripture.  Thus,  the  Apostle 
says,  that,  "  at  the  name  of  Jesus,  every  knee  should  bend,  of 
those  that  are  in  heaven,  on  earth  and  in  hell  ;"*  and  in  the  Acts 
of  the  Apostles,  Peter  says,  that  Christ  the  Lord  was  again  risen, 
"  having  loosed  the  sorrows  of  hell."3 

These  abodes  are  not  all  of  the  same  nature,  for  amongst  them,  its  differ- 
is  that  most  loathsome  and  dark  prison  in  which  the  souls  of  the  ?nt  mean- 
clamned  are  buried  with  the  unclean  spirits,  in  eternal  and  inextin-  in?9'i. 
guishable  fire.     This  dread  abode  is  called  Gehenna,  the  bottom 
less  pit,  and,  strictly  speaking,  means  hell.   Amongst  them  is  also         II. 
the  fire  of  purgatory,  in  which  the  souls  of  just  men  are  cleansed  by 
a  temporary  punishment,  in  order  to  be  admitted  into  their  eter 
nal  country,  "  into  which  nothing  defiled  entereth."3     The  truth 
of  this  doctrine  founded,  as  holy  councils  declare,4  on  Scripture, 
and  confirmed  by  apostolical  tradition,  demands  diligent  and  fre 
quent  exposition,  proportioned  to  the  circumstances  of  the  times 
in  which  we  live,  when  men  endure  not  sound  doctrine.    Lastly,        HI. 
the  third  kind  of  abode  is  that  into  which  the  souls  of  the  just, 
who  died  before  Christ,  were  received,  and  where,  without  ex 
periencing  any  sort  of  pain,  and  supported  by  the  blessed  hope 
of  redemption,  they  enjoyed  peaceful  repose.     To  liberate  these 
souls,  who,  in  the  bosom  of  Abraham,  were  expecting  the  Sa 
viour,  Christ  the  Lord  descended  into  hell. 

But  we  are  not  to  imagine  that  his  power  and  virtue  only,  but  The  soul 
we  are  also  firmly  to  believe  that  his  soul  also,  really  and  sub-  ofChnst 
stantially  descended  into  hell,  according  to  this  conclusive  testi-  SCen(Ld 
mony  of  David  :   "  Thou  wilt  not  leave  my  soul  in  hell."5    But,  into  hell, 
although   Christ  descended  into  hell,  his  supreme  power  was 
still  the  same ;   nor  was  the  splendour  of  his  sanctity  in  any 
degree  obscured.    His  descent  served  rather  to  prove,  that  what 
ever  has  been  already  said  of  his  sanctity  was  true  ;  and  that 
as  he  had  previously  demonstrated  by  so  many  miracles,  he  was 
truly  the  Son  of  God. 

This  we  shall  easily  understand  by  comparing  the  descent  of  Difference 
Christ,  in  its  causes  and  circumstances,  with  that  of  the  just —  between 
They  descended  as  captives  :8  He  as  free  and  victorious  amongst  an 
the  dead,  to  subdue  those  demons  by  whom,  in  consequence  of  others, 
primeval  guilt,  they  were  held  in  captivity— they   descended, 
some  to  endure  the  mos"  acute  torments,  others,  though  exempt 
from  actual  pain,  yet  deprived  of  the  vision  of  God,  and  of  the 
glory  for  which  they  sighed,  and  consigned  to  the  torture  of  sus- 

1  Philip,  ii.  10.         2  Acts  ii.  24.          3  Apoc.  xxi.  27.        "  Trid.  Cone.  Sess.  25. 
6  Ps.  xv.  10.  «  Ps.  hxxvii.  5, 6. 

52  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

pense ;  Christ  the  Lord  descended,  not  to  suffer,  but  to  liberate 
from  suffering  the  holy  and  the  just  who  were  held  in  painful  cap 
tivity,  and  to  impart  to  them  the  fruit  of  his  passion.  His  su 
preme  dignity  and  power,  therefore,  suffered  no  diminution  by 
his  descent  into  hell. 

Why  he  Having  explained  these  things,  the  pastor  will,  next,  proceed 

descended,  to  teach  that  the  Son  of  God  descended  into  hell,  that,  clothed 
with  the  spoils  of  the  arch-enemy,  he  may  conduct  into  heaven 
those  holy  fathers,  and  the  other  just  souls,  whose  liberation 
from  prison  he  had  already  purchased.  This  he  accomplished 
in  an  admirable  and  glorious  manner,  for  his  august  presence,  at 
once  shed  a  celestial  lustre  upon  the  captives  ;  filled  them  with 
inconceivable  joy ;  and  imparted  to  them  that  supreme  happi 
ness  which  consists  in  the  vision  of  God  ;  thus  verifying  his 
promise  to  the  thief  on  the  cross :  "  Amen,  I  say  to  thee,  this 
day  thou  shall  be  with  me  in  Paradise."1  This,  deliverance  of 
the  just  was,  long  before,  predicted  by  Ozeas,  in  these  words  : 
"  O  Death  !  I  will  be  thy  death,  0  Hell !  I  will  be  thy  bite  :"3 
and  also  by  the  prophet  Zachary  :  "  Thou,  also,  by  the  blood 
of  thy  testament,  hast  sent  forth  thy  prisoners  out  of  the  pit 
wherein  is  no  water  ,"3  and  lastly,  the  same  is  expressed  by  the 
Apostle  in  these  words :  "  Despoiling  the  principalities  and 
powers,  he  hath  exposed  them  confidently,  openly  triumphing 
over  them  in  himself."4 

II.  However,  to  comprehend  still  more  clearly  the  efficacy  of  this 

mystery,  we  should  frequently  call  to  mind,  that  not  only  those 
who  were  born  after  the  coming  of  the  Saviour,  but,  also,  those 
who  preceded  that  event  from  the  days  of  Adam,  or  shall  suc 
ceed  it  to  the  consummation  of  time,  are  included  in  the  redemp 
tion  purchased  by  the  death  of  Christ.  Before  his  death  and 
resurrection,  heaven  was  closed  against  every  child  of  Adam  ; 
the  souls  of  the  just,  on  their  departure  from  this  life,  were 
borne  to  the  bosom  of  Abraham  ;  or,  as  is  still  the  case  with 
those  who  require  to  be  freed  from  the  stains  of  sin,  or  die  in 
debted  to  the  divine  justice,  were  purified  in  the  fire  of  purga 

HI.  Another  reason,  also,  why  Christ  descended  into  hell  is,  that 

there,  as  well  as  in  heaven  and  on  earth  he  may  proclaim  his 
power  and  authority  ;  and  that  "  every  knee  of  things  in  heaven, 
and  on  earth,  and  under  the  earth,  should  bend  at  his  name."5 
And  here,  who  is  not  filled  with  admiration  and  astonishment 
when  he  contemplates  the  infinite  love  of  God  to  man  !  Not 
satisfied  with  having  undergone  for  our  sake  a  most  cruel  death 
he  penetrates  the  inmost  recesses  of  the  earth,  to  transport  into 
bliss  the  souls  whom  he  so  dearly  loved,  and  whose  liberation 
from  prison  he  had  achieved  at  the  price  of  his  blood  ! 
The  second  "We  now  come  to  the  second  part  of  the  Article,  and  how  in- 
Article!  6  defatigable  should  be  the  labours  of  the  pastor  in  its  exposition ; 

'  Luke  xxiii.  43.  2  Ozeas  xiii.  14.  3  Zach.  ix.  1 1.  *  Col.  ii.  15 

5  Phil.  ii.  10. 

On  the  fifth  article  of  the  Creed.  53 

\ve  learn  irom  these  words  of  the  Apostle  to  Timothy;  "Be 
mindful  that  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  risen  again  from  the 
dead  :'?1  words  no  doubt,  addressed  not  only  to  Timothy,  but 
to  all  who  have  care  of  souls.  But  the  meaning  of  the  Article  Its  mean- 
is,  that  after  Christ  the  Lord  had  expired  on  the  cross,  on  the  ms- 
sixth  day  and  ninth  hour,  and  was  buried  on  the  evening  of  the 
same  day  by  his  disciples,  who  with  the  permission  of  the  go 
vernor  Pilate,  laid  the  body  of  the  Lord,  when  taken  down  from 
the  cross,  in  a  new  tomb,  in  a  garden  near  at -hand  ;  his  soul 
was  reunited  to  his  body,  early  on  the  morning  of  the  third  day 
after  his  death,  that  is  on  the  Lord's-day  ;  and  thus  he,  who  was 
dead  during  those  three  days,  returned  to  life,  and  rose  from  the 
embraces  of  the  tomb.— By  the  word  resurrection,  however,  we  Resrirrer- 

are  not  merely  to  understand  that  Christ  was  raised  from  the  Uon  SUIf" 
,       ,  •    -i  -11-  rior  to  the 

dead ;  a  privilege  common  with  him  to  many  others  :  but  that  he  natural 

rose  by  his  own  power  and  virtue,  a  singular  prerogative  pecu-  power  of 
liar  to  him  alone  ;  for  it  is  incompatible  with  our  nature,  nor  man< 
was  it  ever  given  to  man  to  raise  himself,  by  his  own  power, 
from  death  to  life.  This  was  an  exercise  of  power  reserved  for 
the  omnipotent  hand  of  God,  as  these  words  of  the  Apostle  de 
clare  ;  "  for,  although  he  was  crucified  through  weakness,  yet 
he  liveth  by  the  power  of  God."*  This  divine  power,  having 
never  been  separated,  either  from  his  body  whilst  in  the  grave, 
or  from  his  soul  whilst  disunited  from  his  body,  existed  in 
both,  and  gave  to  both  a  capability  of  reuniting ;  and  thus  did 
the  Son  of  God,  by  his  own  power,  return  to  life,  and  rise  again 
from  the  dead.  This  David  foretold,  when,  filled  with  the  spirit 
of  God,  he  prophesied  in  these  words  :  "  His  right  hand  hath 
wrought  for  him  salvation,  and  his  arm  is  holy."3  This  we, 
also,  have  from  the  divine  lips  of  ihe  Redeemer  himself:  "I 
lay  down  my  life,"  says  he,  "  that  I  may  take  it  again  ;  and  I 
have  power  to  lay  it  down,  and  power  to  take  it  again."4  To 
the  Jews  he  also  said,  in  confirmation  of  his  doctrine :  "  Des 
troy  this  temple,  and  in  three  days  I  will  raise  it  up."5  Al 
though  the  Jews  understood  him  to  have  spoken  thus  of  the 
magnificent  temple  of  Jerusalem,  built  of  stone:  yet,  as  the 
Scripture,  testifies  in  the  same  place,  "  he  spoke  of  the  temple 
of  his  body."6  We  sometimes,  it  is  true,  read  in  Scripture, 
that  he  was  raised  by  the  Father  ;7  but  this  refers  to  him  as 
man  ;  as  those  passages,  which,  on  the  other  hand,  say  that  he 
rose  by  his  own  power,  relate  to  him  as  God.8 

It  is  also  the  peculiar  privilege  of  Christ  to  have  been  the  first  Christ  "the 
who  enjoyed  this  divine  prerogative  of  rising  from  the  dead,  for  first  kegot- 
he  is  called  in  Scripture  » the  first  begotten  of  the  dead  :""  and  £0?- 
also,  "  the  first  born   from  the  dead  ;"10  the  Apostle  also  says, 
"  Christ  is  risen  from    the  dead,  the  first  fruits  of  them  that 
sleep :  for  by  a  man  came  death,  and  by  a  man  the  resurrection 

1  8.  2  2  Cor.  xiii.  4.  3  Ps.  xcvii.  2.  <  John  x.  17, 18 

6  John  ii.  19.  «  John  ii.  21.  7  Acts  ii.  24  ;  iii.  15.        8  Kom.  viii.  34. 

9  Apoc.  i.  5.  10  Col.  i.  18. 


54  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

of  the  dead  :  and,  as  in  Adam  all  die,  so,  also,  in  Christ  all  shall 
be  made  alive  ;  but  every  one  in  his  own  order ;  the  first  fruits 
Christ,  then  they  that  are  of  Christ,  who  have  believed  in  his 
coming."1  These  words  of  the  Apostle  are  to  be  understood  of 
a  perfect  resurrection,  by  which  we  are  resuscitated  to  eternal 
life,  being  no  longer  subject  to  death.  In  this  resurrection  Christ 
the  Lord  holds  the  first  place  ;  for,  if  we  speak  of  resurrection, 
that  is,  of  a  return  to  life,  subject  to  the  necessity  of  again  dying, 
many  were  thus  raised  from  the  dead  before  Christ  ;3  all  of 
whom,  however,  were  restored  to  life  to  die  again  ;  but  Christ 
the  Lord,  having  conquered  death,  rose  again  to  die  no  more, 
according  to  this  clear  testimony  of  the  Apostle  :  "  Christ  rising 
again  from  the  dead,  dieth  now  no  mpre,  death  shall  no  longer 
have  dominion  over  him."3 

Chnst  rose       "Tin-:   THIRD    DAY"]     In    explanation    of  these   additional 

again  on      words  of  the  Article,  the   pastor  will   inform  the  people,  that 

ihe  tin         Christ  did  not  remain  in  the  grave  during  the  entire  of  these 

three  days,  but,  as  he  lay  in  the  sepulchre  during  an  entire  natural 

day,  during  part  of  the  preceding  day,  and  part  of  the  following, 

he  is  said,  with  strictest  truth,  to  have  lain  in  the  grave  for  three 

days,  and  on  the  third  day,  to  have  risen  again   from  the  dead. 

Why  on      T°  declare  his  divinity,  he  deferred  not  his  resurrection  to  the 

the  third      end  of  the  world  ;  whilst  at  the  same  time,  to  prove  his  huma- 

day-  nity,  and  the  reality  of  his  death,  he  rose  not  immediately,  but  on 

the  third  day  alter  his  death,  a  space  of  time  sufficient  to  prove 

that  he  had  really  died. 

'  Accord-  Here  the  Fathers  of  thfe  first  Council  of  Constantinople  added 
ing  to  the>  the  words,  "according  to  the  Scriptures,"  which  they  received 
whTndded  ^rom  Apostolical  tradition,  and  imbodied  with  the  creed,  because 
to  the  the  same  Apostle  teaches  the  absolute  necessity  of  the  mystery 
creed.  Of  t]ie  resurrection,  when  he  says  :  "  If  Christ  be  not  risen 
again,  then  is  our  preaching  vain,  and  your  faith  is  also  vain, 
for  you  are  yet  in  your  sins."4  Hence,  admiring  our  belief  of 
this  Article,  St.  Augustine  says  :  "  It  is  of  little  moment  to  be 
lieve  that  Christ  died  ;  this,  the  Pagans,  Jews,  and  all  the 
wicked  believe  ;  in  a  word,  all  believe  that  Christ  died ;  but, 
that  he  rose  from  the  dead  is  the  belief  of  Christians  ;  to  believe 
that  he  rose  again,  this  we  deem  of  great  moment."5  Hence  it 
is,  that  our  Lord  very  frequently  spoke  to  his  disciples  of  his 
resurrection  ;  and  seldom  or  never  of  his  passion  without  ad 
verting  to  his  resurrection.  Thus,  when  he  said  :  "The  Son  of 
Man  shall  be  delivered  to  the  Gentiles,  and  shall  be  mocked  and 
scourged  and  spit  upon ;  and  after  they  have  scourged  him,  they 
will  put  him  to  death  ?"  he  added  ;  "  and  the  third  day  he  shall 
rise  again."8  Also,  when  the  Jews  called  upon  him  to  give  an 
attestation  of  the  truth  of  his  doctrine  by  some  miraculous  sign, 
he  said  :  "  A  sign  shall  not  be  given  them  but  the  sign  of  Jonas 
the  Prophet :  for  as  Jonas  was  three  days  and  three  nights  in 

1  1  Cor.  xv.  20—23.  2  3  Kmus  xvii.  22.    4  Kings  iv.  34.          3  Rom.  vi.  9. 

4  1  Cor.  xv.  14.  17.     '  August  in  Ps.  cxx.  4.    6  Luke  xviii.  32,  33.    Matt.  xvi.  21. 

On  the  fifth  article  of  the  Creea.  55 

the  whale's  belly,  so  shall  the  Son  of  man  be  three  days  and  . 
three  nights  in  the  bosom  of  the  earth."1 

To  understand,  still  better,  the  force  and  meaning  of  this  Ar-  Three 
ticle,  there  are  three  things  which  demand  attentive  considera-  ^j"f^  are 
tion  :  first,   the  necessity  of  the  resurrection  ;  secondly,  its  end  here  to  be 
and  object ;  thirdly,  the  blessings  and  advantages  of  which  it  is  explained. 
to  us  the  source.     With  regard  to  the  first,  it  was  necessary  that         I. 
he  should  rise  again,  in  order  to  manifest  the  justice  of  God;  ^^f8,!^ 
for  it  was  most  congruous  that  he,  who,  through   obedience  to  surrection. 
God,  was  degraded,  and  loaded  with  ignominy,  should  by  him  be 
exalted.     This  is  a  reason  assigned  by  the  Apostle  in  his  Epis 
tle  to  the  Philippians :   "  He  humbled  himself,"  says  he,  "  be 
coming  obedient  unto  death  ;  even  unto  the  death  of  the  cross  ;  for 
which  cause  God,  also,  hath  exalted   him."3     He  rose,  also,  to 
confirm  our  faith,  which  is  necessary  to  justification  :   the  resur 
rection  of  Christ  from  the  dead  by  his  own  power,  affords  an 
irrefragable  proof  of  his  divinity.     It  also  nurtures  and  sustains 
our  hope,  for,  as  Christ  rose  again,  we  rest  on  an  assured  hope, 
that  we  too,  shall  rise  again  ;  the  members  must  necessarily  arrive 
at  the  condition  of  their  head.    This  is  the  conclusion  which  St. 
Paul  draws  from  the  reasoning  which  he  uses  in  his  epistles  to 
the  Corinthians,3  and  Thessalonians  ;4  and  Peter,  the  prince  of 
the  Apostle,  says  :  Blessed  be  God  and  the  Father  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ,  who,  according  to  his  great  mercy,  hath  regenera 
ted  us  unto  a  lively  hope,  by  the   resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ 
from  the  dead,  unto   the  inheritance  incorruptible."5     Finally,        II. 

the  resurrection  of  our  Lord,  as  the  pastor  will  inculcate,  was  Its.endantl 

.  *  ,        ,  object, 

necessary  to  complete  the  mystery  of  our  salvation  and  redemp 
tion  :  by  his  death,  Christ  liberated  us  from  the  thraldom  of  sin, 
and  restored  to  us,  by  his  resurrection,  the  most  important  of 
those  privileges  which  we  had  forfeited  by  sin.  Hence  these 
words  of  the  Apostle  :  "  He  was  delivered  up  for  our  sins,  and 
rose  again  for  our  justification."8  That  nothing,  therefore,  may 
be  wanting  to  perfect  the  work  of  our  salvation,  it  was  necessary 
that,  as  he  died,  he  should,  also,  rise  again  from  the  dead. 

From  what  has  been  said  we  can  perceive  the  important  ad-        III. 
vantages  which  the  resurrection  of  our  Lord  has  conferred  on  Its  Wesi? 
the  faithful ;  in  his  resurrection,  we  acknowledge  him  to  be  the  a'dvoma- 
immortal  God,   full  of  glory,  the  conqueror  of  death  and  hell ;  ges. 
and  this  we  are  firmly  to  believe  and  openly  to  profess  of  Christ 

Again,  the  resurrection  of  Christ  effectuates  our  resurrection,  n. 
not  only  as  its  efficient  cause,  but  also  as  its  model.  Thus  with 
regard  to  the  resurrection  of  the  body,  we  have  this  testimony 
of  the  Apostle  :  "  by  a  man  came  death,  and  by  a  man  the  re 
surrection  of  the  dead."7  To  accomplish  the  mystery  of  our 
redemption  in  all  its  parts,  God  made  use  of  the  humanity  of 
Christ  as  its  efficient  instrument,  and  hence,  his  resurrection  is 

'  Luke  xi.  29.    Matt.  xii.  39,  40.  2  Philip,  ii.  8, 9.  3 1  Cor.  xv.  12. 

<  1  Thes.  iv.  14.  5  1  Peter  i.  3,  4.        6  R0m.  iv.  25.  7  j  Cor.  xv.  21. 

56  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  efficient  cause  of  ours.  It  is  also,  the  model :  his  resurrection 
was  the  most  perfect  of  all  ;  and  as  his  body,  rising  to  immor 
tal  glory,  was  changed,  so  shall  our  bodies  also,  before  frail  and 
mortal,  be  restored  and  clothed  with  glory  and  immortality  :  in 
the  language  of  the  Apostle ;  "  we  look  for  the  Saviour  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  will  reform  the  body  of  our  lowness, 
made  like  to  the  body  of  his  glory."1 

ill.  The  same  may  be  said  of  a  soul  dead  in  sin:  how  the    esur- 

rection  of  Christ  is  proposed  to  such  a  soul  as  the  model  of  her 
resurrection,  we  learn  from  the  same  Apostle,  when  he  says  ; 
"  Christ  is  risen  from  the  dead  by  the  glory  of  the  Father,  so  we 
also  may  walk  in  newness  of  life  ;  for  if  we  have  been  planted 
together  in  the  likeness  of  his  death,  we  shall  be  also  in  the 
likeness  of  his  resurrection  ;"  and  a  little  after,  "  knowing  that 
Christ,  rising  from  the  dead,  dieth  no  more,  death  shall  no  more 
have  dominion  over  him  ;  for  in  that  he  died  to  sin,  he  died 
once:  but  in  that  he  liveth,  he  liveth  unto  God.  So  do  you  also 
reckon,  that  you  are  dead  to  sin,  but  alive  unto  God  in  Christ 
Jesus  our  Lord."a 

From  the  resurrection  of  Christ,  therefore,  we  should  derive 
two  important  lessons  of  instruction ;  the  one,  that,  after  we 
have  washed  away  the  stains  of  sin,  we  should  begin  to  lead  a 
new  life,  distinguished  by  integrity,  innocence,  holiness,  modesty, 
justice,  beneficence,  and  humility ;  the  other,  that  we  should  so 
persevere  in  that  newness  of  life,  as  never  more,  with  the  divine 
assistance,  to  stray  from  the  paths  of  virtue  on  which  we  have 
once  entered. 

IV.  Nor  do  the  words  of  the  Apostle  prove  only  that  the  resurrec 

tion  of  Christ  is  proposed  as  the  model  of  our  resurrection  ;  they 
also,  declare  that  it  gives  us  power  to  rise  again  ;  and  imparts 
to  us  strength  and  courage  to  persevere -in  holiness  and  righteous 
ness,  and  in  the  observance  of  the  commandments  of  God.  As 
his  death  not  only  furnishes  us  with  an  example,  but  also  sup 
plies  us  with  strength  to  die  to  sin  ;  so  also,  his  resurrection 
invigorates  us  to  attain  righteousness  ;  that  worshipping  God  in 
piety  and  holiness,  we  may  walk  in  the  newness  of  life  to  which 
we  have  risen  ;  for  the  Redeemer  achieved  principally  by  his  re 
surrection,  that  we,  who  before  died  with  him  to  sin,  and  to  the 
world,  may  rise,  also,  with  him  again  to  a  new  discipline  and 
manner  of  life. 

Principal  The  principal  proofs  of  this  resurrection  from  sin  which  demand 
proofs  of  a  observation,  are  comprised  in  these  words  of  the  Apostle  :  "  If 
twn'frora  you  ^e  risen  wli^  Christ,  seek  the  things  that  are  above,  where 
tin.  Christ  is  sitting  at  the  right  hand  of  God."3  Here,  he  distinctly 

tells  us,  that  they,  whose  desire  of  life,  honours,  riches,  and  re 
pose,  are  directed  chiefly  to  the  place  in  which  Christ  dwells, 
have  truly  risen  with  him  :  but  when  he  adds  :  "  Mind  the 
things  that  are  above,  not  the  things  that  are  on  the  earth  ;"4  he 
gives  this,  as  it  were,  as  another  standard,  by  which  we  may 

» Phil.  iii.  20,  21.          2  Rom.  yi.  4—6.  9—11.          3  Col.  iii.  1 .  *  Col.  iii.  2. 

On  the  sixth  article  of  the  Creed.  57 

ascertain  if  we  have  truly  risen  with  Christ ;  for  as  a  relish  for 
food  indicates  a  healthy  state  of  the  body  :  so,  with  regard  to 
the  soul,  if  we  relish  "  whatever  is  true,  whatever  is  modest, 
whatever  is  just,  whatever  is  holy,"1  and  experience  within  us 
a  sense  of  the  sweetness  of  heavenly  things  ;  this  we  may  con 
sider  a  very  strong  proof,  that  with  Christ  we  have  risen  to  a 
new  and  spiritual  life. 



"  HE  ASCENDED  INTO  HEAVEN"]     Filled  with  the  Spirit  of  Triumphoi 
God,  and  contemplating  the  blessed  and  glorious  ascension  of  g^"^^" 
our  Lord  into  heaven,  the  prophet  David  exhorts  all  to  celebrate  to  be  cele- 
that  splendid  triumph,  with  the  greatest  joy  and  gladness  :  "  Clap  brated  by 
your  hands,"  said  he,  "  all  ye  nations,  shout  unto  God  with  the 
voice  of  joy.     God  is  ascended  with  jubilee,  and  the  Lord  with 
the  sound  of  trumpet."3     The  pastor  will  hence  learn  the  obli 
gation  imposed  on  him,  of  explaining  this  mystery  with  unre 
mitting  assiduity,  and  of  taking  especial   care  that  the  faithful 
not  only  see  it  with  the  light  of  faith,  and  of  the  understanding ; 
but  still  more,  that,  as  far  as  it  is  in  his  power  to   accomplish, 
they  make  it  their  study,  with  the  divine  assistance,  to  reflect  its 
image  in  their  lives  and  actions. 

With  regard,  then,  to  the  exposition  of  this  sixth  Article,  First  part 
which  has  reference,  principally,  to  the  divine   mystery  of  the  °[  thevv4utl" 
ascension;  we  shall  begin  with  its  first  part,  and  point  out  its  itteacbas 
lorce  and  meaning.     That  Jesus   Christ,   having  fully  accom-  ustobe- 
plished  the  work  of  redemption,  ascended,  as  man,  body  and  lievej 
soul,  into  heaven,  the  faithful  are  unhesitatingly  to  believe ;  for 
as  God,  he  never  forsook  heaven,  filling  as  he  does  all  places 
with  his  divinity. 

The  pastor  is,  also,  to  teach  that  he  ascended  by  his  own  II. 
power,  not  by  the  power  of  another  as  did  Elias,  who  was  taken 
jp  into  heaven  in  a  fiery  chariot  ;3  or,  as  the  prophet  Habacuc  ;* 
or  Philip,  the  deacon,  who  were  borne  through  the  air  by  the 
divine  power,  and  traversed  the  distant  regions  of  the  earth.5 
Neither  did  he  ascend  into  heaven,  solely  by  the  exercise  of  his  m. 
supreme  power  as  God,  but  also,  by  virtue  of  the  power  which 
he  possessed  as  man  ;  although  human  power  alone  was  insuffi 
cient  to  raise  him  from  the  dead,  yet  the  virtue,  with  which  the 
blessed  soul  of  Christ  was  endowed,  was  capable  of  moving  the 
body  as  it  pleased,  and  his  body,  now  glorified,  readily  obeyed 
its  impulsive  dominion.  Hence,  we  believe  that  Christ  ascended 

i  Phil.  iv.  8.  2  ps.  xlvj.  1.6.  34  Rings  ii.  1  ] .  4  Dan.  xiv.  35 

s  Acts  viii.  39. 


part  of  the 
A  trope. 

What  the 
word  '  sit- 
teth'  means 

History  of 
the  ascen 

All  other 
refer  to  it 
as  to  their 
end  and 

Tenor  of 
the  Sa 
viour's  life 
with  his  as 

Reasons  of 
the  ascen 


7'he  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

into  heaven  as  God  and  man,  by  his  own  power.' — We   now 
come  to  the  second  part  of  the  Article. 

MIGHTY"]  In  these  words  we  observe  a  trope,  that  is,  the 
changing  of  a  word  from  its  literal,  to  a  figurative  meaning,  a 
thing  not  nnfrequent  in  Scripture,1  when,  accommodating  its  lan 
guage  to  human  ideas,  it  attributes  human  affections  and  human 
members  to  God,  who,  spirit  as  he  is,  admits  of  nothing  corpo 
real.  But,  as  amongst  men,  he  who  sits  at  the  right  hand  is 
considered  to  occupy  the  most  honourable  place,  so,  transferring 
the  idea  to  celestial  things,  to  express  the  glory  which  Christ, 
as  man,  enjoys  above  all  others,  we  confess  that  he  sits  at  the 
right  hand  of  his  Eternal  Father.  This,  however,  does  not 
imply  position  and  figure  of  body  :  but  declares  the  fixed  and 
permanent  possession  of  royal  and  supreme  power  and  glory, . 
which  he  received  from  the  Father;  as  the  Apostle  says  :  "  rais 
ing  him  up  from  the  dead,  and  setting  him  on  his  right  hand  in 
the  heavenly  places,  above  all  principality,  and  power,  and  virtue, 
and  domination,  and  every  name  that  is  named,  not  only  in  this 
world,  but  also  in  that  which  is  to  come ;  and  he  hath  subjected 
all  things  und^r  his  feet."u  These  words  manifestly  imply  that 
this  glory  belongs  to  our  Lord,  in  so  special  a  manner,  that  it 
cannot  consist  with  the  nature  of  any  other  created  being  ;  and 
hence,  in  another  place,  the  Apostle  asks  :  "  To  which  of 
the  angels  said  he  at  any  time,  sit  on  my  right  hand,  'till  I  make 
thine  enemies  thy  footstool  ?"3 

But  the  pastor  will  explain  the  sense  of  the  Article,  more  at  large 
by  detailing  the  history  of  the  ascension,  of  which  the  evangelist 
St.  Luke  has  left  us  an  admirable  description,  in  the  Acts  of  the 
Apostles.4  In  his  exposition,  he  will  observe,  in  the  first  place, 
that  all  other  mysteries  refer  to  the  ascension,  as  to  their  end  and 
completion;  as  all  the  mysteries  of  religion  commence  with  the 
Incarnation  of  our  Lord,  so  his  sojourn  on  earth  terminates  with 
his  ascension  into  heaven.  Moreover,  the  other  Articles  of  the 
Creed,  which  regard  Christ  the  Lord,  show  his  great  humility 
and  lowliness :  nothing  can  be  conceived  more  humble,  nothing 
more  lowly,  than  that  the  Son  of  God  assumed  the  frailty  of  our 
flesh,  suffered  and  died  for  us  ;  but  nothing  more  magnificently, 
nothing  more  admirably  proclaims  his  sovereign  glory  and  divine 
majesty,  than  what  is  contained  in  the  present  and  preceding  ar 
ticles,  in  which  we  declare,  that  he  rose  from  the  dead,  ascended 
into  heaven,  and  now  sits  at  the  right  hand  of  his  Eternal  Father. 

When  the  pastor  has  accurately  explained  these  truths,  he  will 
next  inform  the  faithful,  why  our  Lord  ascended  into  heaven. — 
He  ascended  because  the  glorious  kingdom  of  the  highest  hea 
vens,  not  the  obscure  abode  of  this  earth,  presented  a  suitable 
dAvelling-place  to  him  whose  glorified  body,  rising  from  the  tomb, 
was  clothed  with  immortality. — He  ascended,  not  only  to  possess 

1  Dionys.  Areop.  Epist  ix. 
Basil,  lib*,  de  Spir.  Sanct  c.  vi. 

2  Eph.  i.  20 — 22,  Athan.  Serm.  1  contra  Arian. 
3  Heb.  i.  13.  *  Acts  i. 

On  the  sixth  article  of  the  Creed.  59 

the  throne  of  glory,  and  the  kingdom  which  he  purchased  at  the 
price  of  his  blood,  but  also  to  attend  to  whatever  regards  the  sal 
vation  of  his  people. — He  ascended,  to  prove  thereby  that  "  his  HI. 
kingdom  is  not  of  this  world,"1  for  the  kingdoms  of  this  world 
are  terrene  and  transient,  and  are  based  upon  wealth  and  the 
power  of  the  flesh ;  but  the  kingdom  of  Christ  is  not  as  the 
Jews  expected,  an  earthly,  but  a  spiritual  and  eternal  kingdom. 
Its  riches,  too,  are  spiritual,  as  he  shows  by  placing  nis  throne 
in  the  heavens,  where  they,  who  seek  most  earnestly  the  things 
that  are  of  God,  abound  most  in  riches  and  in  abundance  of  all 
good  things,  according  to  these  words  of  St.  James  :  "  Hath  not 
God  chosen  the  poor  in  this  world,  rich  in  faith  and  heirs  of  the 
kingdom  which  God  hath  promised  to  them  that  love  him  ?"3 

He  also  ascended  into  heaven,  in  order  to  teach  us  to  follow  iy; 
him  thither  in  mind  and  heart,  for  as,  by  his  death  and  resurrec 
tion,  he  bequeathed  to  us  an  example  of  dying  and  rising  again 
in  spirit ;  so  by  his  ascension  he  teaches  us,  though  dwelling  on 
earth,  to  raise  ourselves  in  thought  and  desire  to  heaven,  "  con 
fessing  that  we  are  pilgrims  and  strangers  on  the  earth,3  seeking 
a  country  ;"  "  fellow-citizens  with  the  saints,  and  the  domestics 
of  God  ;"*  "  for,"  says  the  same  Apostle,  "  our  conversation  is 
in  heaven."5 

The  extent  and  unspeakable  greatness  of  the  blessings,  which  V 
the  bounty  of  God  has  bestowed  on  us  with  a  lavish  hand,  were, 
long  before,  as  the  Apostle  interprets  him,  sung  by  David  in 
these  words:  "  He  ascended  on  high,  led  captivity  captive,  and 
gave  gifts  to  men."6  On  the  tenth  day  after  his  ascension,  he 
sent  down  the  Holy  Ghost,  with  whose  power  and  plenitude  he  VI 
filled  the  multitude  of  the  faithful,  then  present,  and  fulfilled  his 
splendid  promise  :  "  It  is  expedient  for  you  that  I  go;  for  if  I 
go  not,  the  Paraclete  will  not  come  to  you  ;  but,  if  I  go,  I  will 
send  him  to  you."7  He  also  ascended  into  heaven,  according  VIL 
to  the  Apostle,  "  that  he  may  appear  in  the  presence  of  God  for 
us,"8  and  discharge  for  us  the  office  of  advocate  with  the  Father: 
•'  My,  little  children,"  says  St.  John,  "  these  things  I  write  to 
you,  that  you  may  not  sin,  but  if  any  man  sin,  we  have  an  ad 
vocate  with  the  Father,  Jesus  Christ,  the  just,  and  he  is  the  pro 
pitiation  for  our  sins."8  There  is  nothing  from  which  the  faith 
ful  should  derive  greater  joy  than  from  the  reflection  that  Jesus 
Christ  is  constituted  our  advocate  and  intercessor  with  the  Fa 
ther,  with  whom  his  influence  and  authority  are  supreme. 

Finally,  by  his  ascension,  he  has  prepared  for  us  a  place,  as  VIII 
he  had  promised,  and  has  entered,  as  our  head,  in  the  name  of 
us  all,  into  the  possession  of  the  glory  of  heaven.10  Ascending 
into  heaven,  he  threw  open  its  gates,  which  had  been  closed  by 
the  sin  of  Adam  ;  and,  as  he  foretold  his  disciples,  at  his  last 
supper,  secured  to  us  a  way  by  which  we  may  arrive  at  eternal 

i  John  xviii.  36.  2  James  ii.  5.  3  Heb.  xi.  13, 14.  «  Eph.  ii.  19. 

6  Philip,  iii.  20.  6  ps.  ixvji.  19.    Eph.  iv.  8.        '  John  xvi.  7,  8.  Acts  i.  4, 5. 

8  Heb.  ix.  24.  91  Johnii.  1,2.  «>Johnxiv.2. 

60  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

happiness.  In  order  to  demonstrate  this  by  the  event,  he  intro 
duced,  with  himself  into  the  mansions  of  eternal  bliss,  the  souls 
of  the  just  whom  he  had  liberated  from  prison. 

Its  other          A-  series  of  important  advantages  followed  in  the  train  of  this 
advanta-      admirable  profusion  of  celestial  gifts  :  in  the  first  place  the  merit 
ges-  T         of  our  faith  was  considerably  augmented ;  because  faith  has  for 
its  object  those  things  which  fall  not  under  the  senses,  and  are 
far  raised  above  the  reach  of  human  reason  and  intelligence.    If 
therefore,  the  Lord  had  not  departed   from  us,  the  merit  of  ou* 
faith  should  not  be  the  same,  for  Jesus  Christ  has  ."aid  :  "  Bless- 
II         ed  are  they  who  have  not  seen  and  have  believed  "*  Kn  the  nox» 
place,  it  contributes  much  to  confirm  our  hope :  believing  thai 
Christ,  as  man,  ascended  into  heaven,  and  placed  our  nature  ai 
the  right  hand  of  God  the  Father,  we  are  animated  with  a  stron? 
hope  that  we,  as  members,  shall  also  ascend  thither,  to  be  there 
united  to  our  head,  according  to  these  words  of  our  Lord  him 
self:  "Father,  I  will,  that  where  I  am,  they,  also,  whom  thou 
hast  given  me,  may  be  with  me."2 

HI.  Another  most  important  advantage,  flowing;  from  the  ascension, 

is,  that  it  elevates  our  affections  to  heaven,  and  inflames  them 
with  the  Spirit  of  God;  for,  most  truly  has  it  been  said,  that, 
"  where  our  treasure  is,  there,  also,  is  our  heart."3  And,  in 
deed,  were  Christ  the  Lord  dwelling  on  earth,  the  contempla 
tion  of  his  person,  aud  the  enjoyment  of  his  presence,  must  ab 
sorb  all  our  thoughts,  and  we  should  view  the  author  of  such 
blessings  only  as  man,  and  cherish  towards  him  H  sort  of  earthlv 
affection  :  but,  by  his  ascension  into  heaven,  he  has  spiritualized 
our  affection  for  him,  and  has  made  us  venerate  and  love  as  God. 
him  who,  now  absent,  is  the  object  of  our  thoughts,  not  of  our 
senses.  This  we  learn,  in  part,  from  the  example  of  the  Apos 
tles,  who,  whilst  our  Lord  was  personally  present  with  them, 
seemed  to  judge  of  him,  in  some  measure,  humanly  ;  and,  in  part, 
from  these  words  of  our  Lord  himself:  "  It  is  expedient  for  you 
that  I  go."4  The  affection,  with  which  they  loved  him  when 
present,  was  to  be  perfected  by  divine  love,  and  that,  by  the 
coming  of  the  Holy  Ghost;  and,  therefore,  he  immediately  sub 
joins  :  "  If  I  go  not,  the  Paraclete  will  not  come  to  you." 
IV.  Besides,  he  thus  enlarged  his  dwellingplace  on  earth,  that  is, 

his  Church,  which  was  to  be  governed  by  the  power  and  guid 
ance  of  the  Holy  Spirit ;  and  left  Peter  the  prince  of  the  Apos 
tles,  as  chief  pastor,  and  supreme  head  upon  earth,  of  the  uni 
versal  Church.  "  Some,  also,  he  gave  Apostles,  some  Prophets, 
and  other  some  Evangelists,  and  other  some  Pastors  and  Doc 
tors,"5  and,  thus,  seated  at  the  right  hand  of  the  Father,  he  con 
tinually  bestows  different  gifts  on  different  men ;  according  to 
the  words  of  St.  Paul :  "  To  every  one  of  us  is  given  grace,  ac 
cording  to  the  measure  of  the  giving  of  Christ."6 
V  Finally,  what  was  already  said  of  his  death  and  resurrection 

i  John  xx.  29.  2  jonn  xvii.  24.  3  Malt.  vi.  21.  <  John  xvi.  7. 

5  Eph.  iv  II.  6  Eph.  iv.  7. 

On  the  seventh  article  of  the  Creed.  61 

the  faithful  will  deem  not  less  true  of  his  ascension;  for,  al 
though  we  owe  our  redemption  and  salvation  to  the  passion  of 
Christ,  whose  merits  opened  heaven  to  the  just,  yet  his  ascen 
sion  is  not  only  proposed  to  us  as  a  model,  which  teaches* us 
to  look  on  high,  and  ascend  in  spirit  into  heaven  :  but  also  im 
parts  to  us  a  divine  virtue  which  enables  us  to  accomplish  what 
it  teaches. 




JESUS  CHRIST  is  invested  with  three  eminent  offices  and  func-  The  three 
lions,  those  of  Redeemer,  Patron,  and  Judge.  But  as,  in  the  prece-  °fl>ces  of 
ding  Articles,  we  have  shown  that  the  human  race  was  redeemed 
by  his  passion  and  death  ;  and  as,  by  his  ascension  into  heaven,  it 
is  manifest  that  he  has  undertaken  the  perpetual  advocacy  and 
patronage  of  our  cause;  it  next  follows,  that,  in  this  Article,  we 
set  forth  his  character  as  judge.  The  scope  and  intent  of  the  Meaningot 
Article  is  to  declare,  that  on  the  last  day  he  will  judge  the  whole  the  Article. 
human  race :  the  Sacred  Scriptures  inform  us,  that  there  are  two  Last(Jutlir 
comings  of  Christ,  the  one,  when  he  assumed  human  flesh,  for 
our  Salvation,  in  the  womb  of  a  virgin  ;  the  other,  when  he  shall 
come,  at  the  end  of  the  world,  to  judge  mankind.  This  coming 
is  called,  in  Scripture,  "  The  day  of  the  Lord  :"  "  The  day  of 
the  Lord,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  shall  come,  as  a  thief  in  the 
night  ;"*  and  our  Lord  himself  says  :  "  Of  that  day  and  hour  no 
body  knoweth."3  In  proof  of  the  last  judgment,  it  is  enough  to 
adduce  the  authority  of  the  Apostle:  "  We  must  all,"  says  he, 
"  appear  before  the  judgment  seat  of  Christ,  that  every  one  may 
receive  the  proper  things  of  the  body,  according  as  he  hath  done, 
whether  it  be  good  or  evil."3  Sacred  Scripture  abounds  in  tes 
timonies  to  the  same  effect,  which  the  pastor  will  meet,  every 
where,  throughout  the  Inspired  Volume,4  and  which  not  only 
establish  the  truth  of  the  dogma,  but  also  place  it,  in  vivid  co 
lours,  before  the  eyes  of  the  faithful :  that  as,  from  the  begin 
ning,  the  day  of  the  Lord,  on  which  he  was  clothed  with  our 
flesh,  was  sighed  for  by  all,  as  the  foundation  of  their  hope  of 
deliverance  ;  so  also,  after  the  death  and  ascension  of  the  Son  of 
God,  the  second  day  of  the  Lord  may  be  the  object  of  our  most 
earnest  desires  ;  "  looking  for  the  blessed  hope  and  coming  of 
the  glory  of  the  great  God."5 

But,  with  a  view  to  the  better  explanation  of  this  subject,  the  Two 
pastor  is  to  distinguish  two  distinct  periods  at  which  every  one  meilts 

'  1  Thess.  y.  2.  2  Matt.  xxiy.  36.    Mark  xiii.  32.  a  2  Cor.  v.  10. 

4  1  Kings  ii.  10.  Isaias  ii.  12.  19 :  xiii.  9.  Jerem.  xxx.  23.    Dan.  A'ii.  9.    Joel  ii.  1. 
5  Tit.  ii.  13. 


62  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

must  appear  in  the  presence  of  God,  to  render  an  account  of  all 
his  thoughts,  words,  and  actions,  and  receive  sentence  according- 
Particular.  lys  from  the  mouth  of  his  judge :  the  first,  when  each  one  departs 
thjis  life  ;  for  he  is  instantly  placed  before  the  judgment  seat  of 
God,  where  all  that  he  had  ever  done,  or  spoken,  or  thought, 
during  life,  shall  be  subjected  to  the  most  rigid  scrutiny ;  and 
General,      this  is  called  the  particular  judgment :  the  second,  when,  on  the 
same  day,  and  in  the  same  place,  all  men  shall  stand  together, 
before   the  tribunal  of  their  judge,  that,  in   the  presence  and 
hearing  of  a  congregated  world,  each  may  know  his  final  doom  : 
an  announcement  which  will  constitute  no  small  part  of  the  pain 
and  punishment  of  the  wicked,  and  of  the  remuneration  and  re 
wards  of  the  just;  when  the  tenor  of  each  man's  life  shall  appear 
Why  a  ge-  in  its  true  colours.     This  is  called  the  general  judgment ;  and  it 
neraljudg-  becomes  an  indispensable  duty  of  the  pastor  to  show  why,  be 
sides  the  particular  judgment  of  each  individual,  a  general  one 

I.  should  also  be  passed  upon  the  assembled  world.     The  first  rea 
son  is  founded  on  circumstances  that  must  augment  the  rewards 
or  aggravate  the  punishments  of  the  dead.     Those  who  depar* 
this  life  sometimes  leave  behind  them  children  who  imitate   thp 
conduct  of  their  parents,  dependants,  followers  ;  and  others  who 
admire  and  advocate  the  example,  the  language,  the  conduct  of 
those  on  whom  they  depend,  and  whose  example  they  follow ; 
and  as  the  good  or  bad  influence  of  example,  affecting  as  it  does, 
the  conduct  of  many,  is  to  terminate  only  with  this  world  ;  jus 
tice  demands  that,  in  order  to  form  a  proper  estimate  of  the 
good  or  bad  actions  of  all,  a  general  judgment  should  take  place. 

II.  Moreover,  as  the  character  of  the  virtuous  frequently  suffers 
from  misrepresentation,  whilst  that  of  the  wicked  obtains  the 
commendation  of  virtue ;   the  justice  of  God  demands  that  the 
former  recover,  in  the  presence  and  with  the  suffrage  of  a  con 
gregated  world,  the  good  name  of  which  they  had  been  unjustly 
deprived  before  men. 

III.  Again,  as  the  good  and  the  bad  perform  their  good  and  bad 
actions  not  without  the  co-operation  of  the  body,  these  actions  are 
common  to  the  body  as  their  instrument ;  and  the  body,  there 
fore,  should  participate  with  the  soul  in  the  eternal  rewards  of 
virtue,  or  the  everlasting  punishments  of  vice ;  and  this  can  only 
be  accomplished  by  means  of  a  general  resurrection  and  of  a  ge 
neral  judgment. 

IV.  Finally,  it  was  important  to  prove,  that  in  prosperity  and  ad 
versity,  which  are  sometimes  the  promiscuous  lot  of  the  good 
and  of  the  bad,  everything  is  ordered  by  an  all-wise,  all-just,  and 
all-ruling  Providence :  it  was  therefore,  necessary  not  only,  that 
rewards  and  punishments  should  await  us  in  the  next  life  ;  but 
that  they  should  be  awarded  by  a  public  and  general  judgment  ; 
that  thus  they  may  be  better  known  and  rendered  more  conspicu 
ous  to  all ;  and  that,  in  atonement  for  the  querulous  murmur- 
ings,  to  which,  on  seeing  the  wicked  abound  in  wealth  and 
flourish  in  honours,  even  the  Saints  themselves,  as  men,  have 

On  the  seventh  article  of  the  Creed.  63 

sometimes  given  expression  ;  a  tribute  of  praise  may  be  offered 
by  all  to  the  justice  and  providence  of  God.     "  My  feet,"  says 
the   Prophet,     '  were  almost  moved,  my  steps   had  well   nigh 
slipt ;   because   I  had  a  zeal  on  occasion  of  the  wicked,  seeing 
the  prosperity  of  sinners  :"   and  a  little  after:    "  Behold  !  these 
are  sinners,  and  yet  abounding  in  the  world,  they  have  obtained 
riches  ;  and  I  said,  then  have  I  in  vain  justified   my  heart,  and 
washed  my  hands  among  the  innocent ;  and  I  have  been  scourged 
all  the  day;   and  my  chastisement  hath  been  in  the  morning."1 
This  has  been  the  frequent  complaint  of  many,  and  a  general 
judgment   is,  therefore,   necessary,  lest,   perhaps,  men   may  be 
tempted  to  say  that  God,  "  walking  about  the  poles  of  heaven,"3 
regards  not  the  earth.     Wisely,  therefore,  has   this  truth  been 
made    one    of  the  twelve  articles  of  the  Christian  creed,  that 
should  any  be  tempted  to  doubt  for  a  moment,  their  faith  may 
be   confirmed  by  the   satisfactory  reasons  which  this  doctrine 
presents  to   the  mind.     Besides,  the  just  should  be  encouraged        v 
by  the  hope,  the  wicked  appalled  by  the  terror  of  a  future  judg 
ment  ;  that  knowing  the  justice  of  God,  the  former  may  not  be 
disheartened,  and,  dreading  his  eternal  judgments,  the  latter  may 
be  recalled  from  the  paths  of  vice.     Hence  speaking  of  the  last 
day,  our  Lord  and  Saviour  declares,   that  a   general  judgment 
will,  one  day  take  place,  and  describes  the  signs  of  its  approach  ; 
that  seeing  them,   we  may  know  that  the  end  of  the  world  is  at 
hand.3     At  his  ascension  also,  to  console  his  Apostles,   over 
whelmed  with  grief  at  his  departure,  he  sent  Angels,  who  said 
to  them  :  "  This   Jesus  who  is  taken  up  from  you  into  heaven, 
shall  so  come  as  you  have  seen  him  going  into  heaven."* 

That  this  judgment  is  ascribed  to  Christ  our  Lord,  not  only  as  Christ  not 
God,  but  also  as  man,  is  expressly  declared  in  Scripture  :  for  ("lly  ^ 
although  the  power  of  judging  is  common  to  all  the  Persons  of  aiso  as 
die  blessed  Trinity,  yet  it  is  specially  attributed  to  the  Son,  be-  manum- 
cause  to  him  also  in  a  special  manner,  is  ascribed  wisdom.    But  ^[j^,1 
that  as  man,  he  will  judge  the  world,  is  confirmed  by  the  testi 
mony  of  our  Lord  himself  when  he  says:   "  As  the  Father  hath 
life  in  himself;  so  he  hath  given  to  the  Son  also,  to  have  life  in 
himself;  and  he  hath  given  him  power  to  do  judgment,  because  he 
is  the  Son  of  Man."5     There  is  a  peculiar  propriety  in  Christ's  Why  as 
sitting  in  judgment  on  this  occasion  ;   that  as  sentence  is  to  be  man  ? 
pronounced  on  mankind,  they  may  see  their  judge  with  their 
eyes,  and  hear  him  with  their  ears,  and  thus  learn  their  final 
doom,  through  the  medium  of  the  senses.    'Most  just  is  it  also, 
that  he  who  was  most  iniquitously  condemned  by  the  judgment 
of  men,  should  himself  be,  afterwards  seen  by  all  men  sitting  in 
judgment  on  all.     Hence  the  prince  of  the  Apostles,  when  ex 
pounding,  in  the  house  of  Cornelius,  the  principal  dogmas  of 
Christianity,  and  teaching  that  Christ  was  suspended  from   a 
cross,  and  put  to  death  by  the  Jews,  and  rose  the  third  day 

i  ft.  Ixiii.  2, 3. 12— 14-          2Jobxxii.  14.        3  Matt,  xxiv.  29.        *  Acts  ill. 
5  John  v  26,  27. 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

The  last 
The  good 

to  life,  added  :  "  and  he  has  commanded  us  to  preacr ,  and  to 
testify  to  the  people,  that  this  is  he,  who  was  appointed  of  God 
to  be  the  judge  of  the  living  and  the  dead."1 

Signs  The  Sacred  Scriptures  also  inform  us,  that  the  general  judg- 

which  are   ment  s}iaji  be  preceded  by  these  three  principal  signs,  the  preach- 
thePgeneral  ing  °f  ^ie  Gospel  throughout  the  world,  a  defection  from  the 
judgment    faith,  and  the  coming  of  Antichrist.    "  This  Gospel  of  the  king 
dom,"  says  our  Lord,  "  shall  be  preached  in  the  whole  world, 
for  a  testimony  to  all  nations,  and  then  shall  come  the  consum 
mation."3     The  apostle  also  admonishes  us  that  we  be  not  se 
duced  by  any  one,  "as  if  the  day  of  the  Lord  were  at  hand  ;  for 
unless  there  come  a  revolt  first,  and  the  man  of  sin  be  revealed, 
the  son  of  perdition,"3the  judgment  will  not  come. 

The  form  and  procedure  of  this  judgment  the  pastor  will  easily 
learn  from  the  oracles  of  Daniel,4  the  writings  of  the  Evangelists 
and  the  doctrine  of  the  Apostle.  The  sentence,  also,  to  be  pro 
nounced  by  the  judge,  is  here  deserving  of  more  than  ordinary 
attention.  Looking  to  the  just  standing  on  his  right,  with  a  coun 
tenance  beaming  with  joy,  the  Redeemer  will  pronounce  sentence 
on  them,  with  the  greatest  benignity,  in  these  words  :  "  Come  ye 
blessed  of  my  Father,  possess  the  kingdom  prepared  for  you 
from  the  beginning  of  the  world."5  That  nothing  can  be  con 
ceived,  more  delightful  to  the  ear  than  these  words,  we  shall 
comprehend,  if  we  only  compare  them  with  the  sentence  of  con 
demnation  to  be  hurled  against  the  wicked ;  and  call  to  mind, 
that  by  them  the  just  are  invited  from  labour  to  rest,  from  the 
vale  of  tears  to  the  mansions  of  joy,  from  temporal  misery  to 
eternal  happiness,  the  reward  of  their  works  of  charity. 

Turning  next  to  those  who  shall  stand  on  his  left,  he  will  pour 
out  his  justice  on  them  in  these  words  :  "  Depart  from  me,  ye  cur 
sed,  into  everlasting  fire,  prepared  for  the  devil  and  his  angels."8 
These  first  words,  "  depart  from  me,"  express  the  heaviest  pu 
nishment  with  which  the  wicked  shall  be  visited — their  eternal 
banishment  from  the  sight  of  God,  unrelieved  by  one  consolatory 
hope  of  recovering  so  great  a  good.  This  divines  call  "  the  pain 
of  loss,"  because  in  hell,  the  wicked  shall  be  deprived  of  the 
light  of  the  vision  of  God.7  The  words  "  ye  cursed,"  which  are 
added,  must  augment  to  an  extreme  degree,  their  wretched  and 
calamitous  condition.  If  when  banished  from  the  Divine  pre 
sence,  they  could  hope  for  blessing  of  any  sort,  it  might  be  to 
them  some  source  of  consolation ;  but  deprived  of  every  such 
expectation  that  could  alleviate  calamity,  the  divine  justice, 
whose  severity  their  crimes  have  provoked,  pursues  them  with 
every  species  of  malediction.  The  words,  "  into  everlasting 
fire,"  which  follow,  express  another  sort  of  punishment,  called 
by  Divines  "  the  pain  of  sense  ;  because,  like  other  corporal 
punishments,  amongst  which,  no  doubt,  fire  produces  the  most 

i  Acts  x.  42.  2  Matt.  xxiv.  14.  3  2  Thess.  ii.  2,  3.  <  Dan.  vii.  9. 

s  Matt.  xxv.  34.      6  Matt.  xxv.  41.  7  Chrysost.  in  Matth.  horn.  23.  August 

Serm.  181.  de  temp.  Greg.  lib.  9.  moral,  cap.  46. 

The  bad 

On  the  eighth  article  of  the  Creed.  6f> 

intense  pain,  it  is  felt  through  the  organs  of  sense.  When, 
moreover,  we  reflect  that  this  pain  is  to  be  eternal,  we  are  at 
once  satisfied  that  the  punishment  of  the  damned  admits  of  no 

These  ^re  considerations,  which  the  pastor  should  very  fre-  The  faith- 
quently  press  upon  the  attention  of  the  faithful;  the  truth  which  ^^^1 
this  Article  announces,  seen  with  the  eyes  of  faith,  is  most  effi-  reminde/ 
cacious  in  bridling  the  perverse  propensities  of  the  heart,   and  ?f  the  last 
withdrawing  souls  from  sin.1     Hence  we  read  in  Ecclesiasticus  :  Jt 
"  Remember  thy  last  end,  and  thou  shall  never  sin."3     And  in 
deed,  it  is  almost  impossible  to  find  one  so  prone  to  vice,  as  not 
to  be  capable  of  being  recalled  to  the  pursuit  of  virtue,  by  the 
reflection — that  the  day  will  come  when  he  shall  have  to  render 
an  account  before  a  most  rigorous  judge,  not  only  of  all   his 
words  and   actions,  but  even  of  his  most  secret   thoughts,   and 
shall  suffer  punishment  according  to  his  deserts.     But  the  just 
man  must  be  more  and  more  excited  to  cultivate  justice,  and, 
although  doomed  to  spend  his  life  in  want,  and  obloquy,  and 
torments,  he  must  be  transported  with  the  greatest  joy,  when  he 
looks  forward  to  that  day  on  which,  when  the  conflicts  of  this 
wretched  life  are  over,  he  shall  be   declared  victorious  in  the 
hearing  of  all  men ;  and  admitted  into  his  heavenly  country, 
shall  be  crowned  with  divine,  and  these,  also,  eternal  honours. 
It  becomes,  therefore,  the  duty  of  the  pastor  to  exhort  the  faith 
ful  to  model  their  lives  after  the  best  manner,  and  exercise  them 
selves  in  evrjry  practice  of  piety ;  that  thus  they  may  be  enabled 
to  look  forward  with  greater  security,  to  the  great  coming  day  of 
'.he  Lord,  and  even  as  becomes  children,  desire  it  most  earnestly. 



HITHERTO  we  have  expounded,  as  far  as  the  nature  of  the  Necessity 
subject  seemed  to  require,  what  regards  the  first  and  second  °f  Faith  m 
Persons  of  the  Holy  Trinity.     It  now  remains  to  explain  what  Ghost, 
the  Creed  contains  with  regard  to  the  third  Person,  the  Holy 
Ghost.     On  this  subject,  also,  the  pastor  will  omit  nothing  that 
study  and  assiduity  can  effect ;  for  on  this,  and  the  preceding 
Articles,  error  were  alike  unpardonable.     Hence,  the  Apostle  is 
careful  to  instruct  some  amongst  the  Ephesians,  with  regard  to  the 
Person  of  the  Holy  Ghost.3     Having  asked  if  they  had  received 
the  Holy  Ghost,  and  having  received  for  answer,  that  they  did 
not  so  much  as  know  the  existence  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  he  imme 
diately  subjoins  :  "  In  whom,  therefore,  were  you  baptised  ?"  — 

1  Aug.  senn.  128.  de  temp.  Greg.  hom.  39.  in  Evang.  Bernard  serm.  1.  in  festo 
crtmjiim  Sanctorum.  2  Eccles.  vii.  40.  3  AC(S  xjx.  2. 

6»  I 

66  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

to  signify  that  a  distinct  knowledge  of  this  Article  is  most  ne 
cessary  to  the  faithful.     From  it  they  derive  this  special  fruit — 
considering,  attentively,  that  whatever  they  possess,  they  pos 
sess  through  the  bounty  and  beneficence  of   the  Holy  Spirit 
they  learn  to  think  more  modestly  and  humbly  of  themselves 
and  to  place  all  their  hopes  in  the  protection  of  God,  which  is  the 
first  step  towards  consummate  wisdom  and  supreme  happiness 
Meaningof      The  exposition  of  this  Article,  therefore,  should  begin  with 
u6!^?^3    the  meaning  here  attached  to  the  words,  Holy  Ghost;  for,  as 

HolyGhoat     .  .  ,.  e.         .  i-     i          i      T-<     i  11 

this  appellation  is  equally  true  when  applied  to  the  r  ather  and  the 
Son,  (both  are  spirit,  both  holy,)  and  also  includes  angels,  and 
the  souls  of  the  just ;  care  must  be  taken  that  the  faithful  be  not 
led  into  error  by  the  ambiguity  of  the  words.  The  pastor,  then, 
will  teach,  in  this  Article,  that  by  the  words  Holy  Ghost,  is  un 
derstood  the  third  Person  of  the  blessed  Trinity  ;  a  sense  in 
which  they  are  used,  sometimes  in  the  Old,  and  frequently  in 
the  New  Testament.  Thus  David  prays  :  "  Take  not  thy  Holy 
Spirit  from  me  ;"*  and  in  the  Book  of  Wisdom,  we  read :  "  Who 
shall  know  thy  thoughts,  except  thou  give  wisdom,  and  send  thy 
Holy  Spirit  from  above  ?"a  And  in  another  place  :  "  He  crea 
ted  her  in  the  Holy  Ghost."3  We  are  also  commanded,  in  the 
New  Testament,  to  be  baptised,  "in  the  name  of  the  Father, 
and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost  :"*  we  read  that  the 
most  holy  Virgin  conceived  of  the  Holy  Ghost  ;5  and  we  are 
sent  by  St.  John  to  Christ,  "  who  baptiseth  us  in  the  Holy 
Ghost;"6  with  a  variety  of  other  passages  in  which  the  words 
Holy  Ghost  occur. 

Why  the  Nor  should  it  be  deemed  matter  of  surprise,  that  a  proper 
hird  Per-  name  js  not  given  to  the  third,  as  to  the  first  and  second  Per- 
holy  TrinL  sons  :  the  second  Person  is  designated  by  a  proper  name,  and 
ty  has  no  called  Son,  because,  as  has  been  explained  in  the  preceding 
Articles,  his  eternal  birth  from  the  Father  is  properly  called  ge 
neration.  As,  therefore,  that  birth  is  expressed  by  the  word  ge 
neration  ;  so  the  Person,  emanating  from  that  generation,  is 
properly  called  Son,  and  the  Person,  from  whom  he  emanates, 
Father.  But  as  the  production  of  the  third  Person  is  characterised 
by  no  proper  name,  but  is  called  spiration  and  procession  ;  the 
Person  produced  is,  consequently,  characterised  by  no  proper 
name.  As,  however,  we  are  obliged  to  borrow,  from  created 
objects,  the  names  given  to  God,  and  know  no  other  created 
means  of  communicating  nature  and  essence  than  that  of  genera 
tion  ;  we  cannot  discover  a  proper  name  to  express  the  manner 
in  which  God  communicates  himself  entire,  by  the  force  of  his 
love.  Unable,  therefore,  to  express  the  emanation  of  the  third 
Person,  by  a  proper,  we  have  recourse  to  the  common  name  of 
Holy  Ghost ;  a  name,  however,  peculiarly  appropriate  to  him  who 
infuses  into  us  spiritual  life,  and  without  whose  holy  inspiration, 
we  can  do  nothing  meritorious  of  eternal  life 

'  Ps.  1. 12, 13.  2  Wis.  ix.  17.  3  Eccles.  i.  9-  <  Matt  xxviii.  19- 

5  Matt.  i.  20.     Luke  i.  35.  <>  John  i.  33. 

On  the  eighth  article  of  the  Creed.  67 

But  the  people,  when  once  acquainted  with  the  import  of  the  The  Holy 
name,  should,  first  of  all,  be  taught  that  he  is  equally  God  with  G'KSt 
the  Father  and  the  Son,  equally  omnipotent,  eternal,  perfect,  the  God  with 
supreme  good,  infinitely  wise,  and  of  the  same  nature  with  the  the  Father 
Father  and  the  Son.     All  this  is,  obviously  enough,  implied  by  ^n  l 
the  force  of  the  word  "in,"  when  we  say:  "I  believe  in  the         i. 
Holy  Griost ;"  which,  to  mark  the  particularity  of  our  faith,  is 
prefixed  to  each  Person  of  the  Trinity ;  and  is  also  clearly  es-        II. 
tablished  by  many  passages  of  Scripture  :  when,  in  the  Acts  of 
the  Apostles,  St.  Peter  says  :    "  Ananias !   why  hast  thou  con 
ceived  this  thing  in  thy  heart?"  he  immediately   adds  :  "thou 
hast  not  lied  to  men  but  to  God  ;'51    calling  him,  to  whom  he 
had  before  given  the  name  Holy  Ghost,  immediately  after,  God. 

The  Apostle,  also,  writing  to  the  Corinthians,  interprets  what  III. 
he  says  of  God,  as  said  of  the  Holy  Ghost:  "There  are," 
says  he,  "  diversities  of  operations,  but  the  same  God,  who 
worketh  all  in  all ;"  "  but,"  continues  he,  "  all  these  things  one 
and  the  same  spirit  worketh,  "  dividing  to  every  one  according 
as  he  will."3  In  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles,  also,  what  the  pro-  IV 
phets  attribute  to  one  God,  St.  Paul  ascribes  to  the  Holy  Ghost ; 
thus  Tsaias  had  said :  "  I  heard  the  voice  of  the  Lord,  saying : 
Whom  shall  I  send  ?  and  who  shall  go  for  us  ?  and  I  said  : 
Lo !  here  am  I,  send  me.  And  he  said :  Go,  and  thou  shalt 
say  to  this  people :  Blind  the  heart  of  this  people,  and  make 
their  ears  heavy,  and  shut  their  eyes :  lest  they  see  with  their 
eyes,  and  hear  with  their  ears  :"3  Having  cited  these  words, 
the  Apostle  adds :  "  Well  did  the  Holy  Ghost  speak  to  our 
fathers,  by  Isaias  the  prophet."4 

Again,  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  by  annexing  the  Person  of  the  V. 
Holy  Ghost  to  those  of  the  Father  and  the  Son ;  as  when  bap 
tism  is  commanded  to  be  administered,  "  in  the  name  of  the 
Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,"  leaves  no  room 
whatever  to  doubt  the  truth  of  this  mystery  :  for  if  the  Father  is 
God,  and  the  Son  God,  why  not  confess  that  the  Holy  Ghost, 
who  is  united  with  them  in  the  same  degree  of  honour,  is  also 
God  ?  Besides,  baptism  administered  in  the  name  of  any  crea-  vi 
ture,  can  be  of  no  effect:  "Were  you  baptised  in  the  name 
of  Paul  1"s  says  the  Apostle,  to  show  that  such  baptism  could 
have  availed  them  nothing  to  salvation.  Having,  therefore,  been 
baptised  in  the  name  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  we  must  acknowledge 
the  Holy  Ghost  to  be  God. 

But  this  same  order  of  the  three  Persons,  which  proves  the  vil. 
divinity  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  is  observable  in  the  epistle  of  St. 
John :  "  There  are  three  who  give  testimony  in  heaven  ;  the 
Father,  the  Word,  and  the  Holy  Ghost ;  and  these  three  are 
one  ;"8  and,  also,  in  that  noble  eulogy,  or  form  of  praise  to  the 
Trinity :  "  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  and  to  the  Son,  and  to  the 
Holy  Ghost,"  which  closes  the  psalms  and  divine  praises. 

'  Acts  v.  3, 4.         2  1  Cor.  xii.  6,  11.         3  Isains  vi.  8—10.          '  Acts  sxvhi.  25. 
5  1  Cor.  i.  U.  6  Uoha  v.  7. 

'68  The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

VTII.  Finally,  not  to  omit  an  argument  which  goes,  most  forcibl ;  v> 

establish  this  truth,  the  authority  of  Holy  Scripture  proves,  that 
whatever  faith  attributes  to  God,  belongs  equally  to  the  Holy 
Ghost :  to  him  is  ascribed,  in  Scripture,  the  honour  of  temples  : 
"  Know  you  not,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  that  your  members  are 
the  temple  of  "the  Holy  Ghost;"1  and  also  sanctification.2  vi- 
«  vification,3  to  search  the  depths  of  God,4  to  speak  by  the  pro 
phets,5  and  to  be  present  in  all  places  ;8  all  of  which  are  attri 
buted  to  God  alone. 

The  Holy  The  pastor  will,  also,  accurately  explain  to  the  faithful,  that 
Ghostadis-  the  Holy  Ghost  is  God,  so  as  to  be  the  third  Person  in  the  di- 
from?h^°n  vine  nature,  distinct  from  the  Father  and  the  Son,  and  produced 
Father  and  by  their  will.  To  say  nothing  of  other  testimonies  of  Scripture, 
the  Son.  the  form  Of  baptism,  taught  by  the  Redeemer,7  furnishes  an  ir 
refragable  proof  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is  the  third  Person,  self- 
existent  in  the  divine  nature,  and  distinct  from  the  other  Persons  : 
a  doctrine  taught,  also,  by  the  Apostle,  when  he  says :  "  The 
grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  the  charity  of  God,  and  the 
communication  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  be  with  you  all.  Amen."8 
This  same  truth,  is  still  more  explicitly  declared  in  the  word.' 
which  were  here  added  by  the  Fathers  of  the  first  Council  of 
Constantinople,  to  refute  the  impious  folly  of  Macedonius  : 
"  And  in  the  Holy  Ghost  the  Lord  and  giver  of  life,  who  pro- 
ceedeth  from  the  Father,  and  the  Son :  who,  together  with  the 
Father  and  the  Son,  is  adored  and  glorified ;  who  spoke  by  the 
prophets."  Thus,  by  confessing  the  Holy  Ghost  to  be  "  Lord," 
they  declare,  how  far  he  excels  the  angels,  who  are  the  per 
fection  of  created  intelligence ;  for,  "  they  are  all,"  says  the 
Apostle,  "  ministering  spirits,  sent  to  minister  for  them  who  shall 
receive  the  inheritance  of  salvation."9 

Why  called  They,  also,  designate  the  Holy  Ghost:  "The  giver  of  life," 
the  "giver  because  the  soul  lives  more  by  an  union  with  God,  than  the 
body  is  nurtured  and  sustained  by  an  union  with  the  soul.  As, 
then,  the  Sacred  Scriptures  ascribe  to  the  Holy  Ghost  this  union 
of  the  soul  with  God,  with  great  propriety,  is  he  denominated 
"  the  giver  of  life." 

His  proces-       With  regard  to  the  words  immediately  succeeding :  "  who 

sion  from  "  proceedeth  from  the  Father  and  the  Son,"  the  faithful  are  to  be 

the  Father  taught,  that  the  Holy  Ghost  proceeds  by  eternal  procession, 

sjl  from  the  Father  and  the  Son,  as  from  one  principle :  a  truth 

propounded  to  us  by  an  ecclesiastical  rule,  from  which  the  least 

departure  is  unwarrantable,  confirmed  by  the  authority  of  the 

Sacred  Scriptures,  and  defined  by  the  Councils  of  the  Church. 

Christ  himself,  speaking  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  says  :  "  He  shall 

glorify  me,  because  he  shall  receive  of  mine  ;"10  and  we,  also, 

find  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is,  sometimes,  called,  in  Scripture, 

"  the  Spirit  of  Christ,"  sometimes,  "  the  Spirit  of  the  Father  ;" 

is,  one  time,  said  to  be  sent  by  the  Father,11  another  time,  by  the 

'  1  Cor.  vi.  19.  2  2Thess.  ii.  13.    1  Petr.  i.  2.  3  John  vi.  64. 

<  2  Cor.  Hi.  6;  1  Cor.  ii.  10.       s  2  Petr.  i.  21.      6  VVis.  i.  7.       7  Matt.  xxvm.  1 9. 
•  2  Cor.  xiii.  13.  9Heb.  i.  14.  10  John  xvi.  14.  ll  John  xiv.  26. 

On  the  eighth  article  of  the  Creed.  69 

Son  ;J  thus  signifying,  in  unequivocal  terms,  that  he  proceeds 
alike  from  the  Father  and  the  Son.  "  He,"  says  St.  Paul, 
•'  who  has  not  tne  Spirit  of  Christ  belongs  not  to  him."3  In 
his  epistle  to  the  Galatians,  he  also  calls  the  Holy  Ghost  the 
Spirit  of  Christ:  "  God,"  says  he,  "  hath  sent  the  Spirit  of 
his  Son  into^your  hearts,  crying:  Abba,  Father."3  In  the  Gos 
pel  of  St.  Matthew,  he  is  called  the  Spirit  of  the  Father :  "  It 
is  not  you  that  speak,  but  the  Spirit  of  your  Father  that  speak- 
eth  in  you;"4  and  our  Lord  himself  said,  at  his  last  supper: 
"  When  the  Paraclate  cometh,  whom  I  will  send  you,  the  Spirit 
of  Truth,  who  proceedeth  from  the  Father,  he  shall  give  testi 
mony  of  me."5  On  another  occasion,  he  declares,  that  he  is 
to  be  sent  by  the  Father :  "  whom,"  says  he,  "  the  Father  will 
send  in  my  name."6  Understanding  by  these  words,  the  pro 
cession  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  we  come  to  the  inevitable  conclusion, 
that  he  proceeds  from  the  Father  and  the  Son.  This  exposition 
embraces  the  doctrine  to  be  taught  with  regard  to  the  Person  of 
the  Holy  Ghost. 

It  is,  also,  the  duty  of  the  pastor  to  teach  that  there  are  cer-  The  gifts 

tain  admirable  effects,  certain  exalted  gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  oftheHoly 

.  -.  .    .  ,  ,,  i  •  /•  Ghost, 

which  are  said  to  originate  and  emanate  trom   him,  as  Irom  a 

perennial  fountain  of  goodness.  Although  the  extrinsic  works 
of  the  most  Holy  Trinity  are  common  to  the  three  Persons,  yet 
many  of  them  are  attributed,  specially  to  the  Holy  Ghost ; 
giving  us  to  understand  that  they  arise  from  the  boundless  love 
of  God  towards  us  :  for  as  the  Holy  Ghost  proceeds  from  the 
divine  will,  inflamed,  as  it  were,  with  love,  we  can  comprehend 
that  these  effects  which  are  referred,  particularly,  to  the  Holy 
Ghost,  are  the  result  of  the  boundless  love  of  God  towards  us. 

Hence  it  is,  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is  called  A  GIFT  ;  for  by  a 
gift  we  understand  that  which  is  kindly  and  gratuitously  be 
stowed,  without  reference  to  anticipated  remuneration.  What 
ever  gifts  and  graces,  therefore,  have  been  bestowed  on  us,  by 
Almighty  God,  and  "  what  have  we,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  that 
we  have  not  received  from  God  ?"7  we  should  piously  and 
gratefully  acknowledge,  as  bestowed  by  the  grace  and  gift  of 
the  Holy  Ghost. 

These  gifts  are  numerous  :  not  to  mention  the  creation  of  the 
world,  the  propagation  and  government  of  all  created  beings,  as 
noticed  in  the  first  Article  ;  we  proved,  a  little  before,  that  the 
giving  of  life  is,  particularly,  attributed  to  the  Holy  Ghost,  and 
the  propriety  of  this  attribution  is  further  confirmed  by  the  tes 
timony  of  the  prophet  Ezekiel :  "  I  will  give  you  spirit  and 
you  shall  live."8  The  prophet  Isaias,  however,  enumerates  the 
effects  peculiarly  attributed  to  the  Holy  Ghost :  "  The  spirit  of 
wisdom,  and  understanding,  the  spirit  of  counsel  and  fortitude, 
the  spirit  of  knowledge  and  piety,  and  the  spirit  of  the  fear  of 
the  Lord  :"9  effects  which  are  called  the  gifts  of  the  Holy 

i  John  xv.  26.  2  Rom.  viii.  9.  *  Gal.  iv.  6.  *  Matth.  x.  20. 

5  John  xv.  26.  e  John  xiv.  26.  7  1  Cor.  iv.  7.  8  Ezek.  xxxvii.  6. 

9  Isaias  xi.  3. 

70  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Ghost,  and,  sometimes,  the  Holy  Ghost.  Wisely,  therefore; 
does  St.  Augustine  admonish  us,  whenever  we  meet  the  wora 
Holy  Ghost,  in  Scripture,  to  distinguish  whether  it  means  the 
third  Person  of  the  Trinity,  or  his  gifts  and  operations  :*  they 
are  as  distinct  as  the  Creator  is  from  the  creature.  The  dili 
gence  of  the  pastor,  in  expounding  these  truths,  should  be  the 
greater,  as  it  is  from  these  gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost  that  we  de 
rive  rules  of  Christian  life,  and  are  enabled  to  know  if  the  Hoi) 
Ghost  dwells  within  us. 

But  the  grace  of  justification,  "  which  signs  us  with  the  hoi} 
spirit  of  promise,  who  is  the  pledge  of  our  inheritance,"3  tran 
scends  his  highest  gifts :  it  unites  us  to  God,  in  the  closest 
bonds  of  love — lights  up  within  us  the  sacred  flame  of  piety — 
Ghost.  "  forms  us  to  newness  of  life — renders  us  partakers  of  the  divine 
nature — and  enables  us  "to  be  called  and  really  to  be  the  sons 
of  "  God."3  4 

Grace,  the 


fully  ex 


Why  this  IT  will  not  be  difficult  to  estimate  the  care  with  which  the 
tobe'care-  Pastor  should  explain  this  ninth  Article  to  the  faithful,5  if  we 
attend  to  the  following  important  considerations :  that,  as  S. 
Augustine  observes,6  the  prophets  spoke  more  plainly  and  ex 
plicitly  of  the  Church  than  of  Christ,  foreseeing  that  on  this  a 
much  greater  number  may  err  and  be  deceived,  than  on  the 
mystery  of  the  incarnation  :  after  ages  were  to  behold  wicked 
men,  who,  imitative  as  the  ape,  that  would  fain  pass  for  one  of 
the  human  species,  arrogate  to  themselves  exclusively  the  name 
of  Catholic,  and,  with  effrontery  as  unblushing  as  it  is  impious, 
assert  that  with  them  alone  is  to  be  found  the  Catholic  Church — 
Secondly,  that  he,  whose  mind  is  deeply  impressed  with  this 
truth,  will  experience  little  difficulty  in  avoiding  the  awful 
Who  is  to  danger  of  heresy ;  for  a  person  is  not  to  be  called  a  heretic  so 
be  called  a  soon  as  he  errs  in  matters  of  faith :  then  only  is  he  to  be  so 
called,  when,  in  defiance  of  the  authority  of  the  Church,  he 
maintains  impious  opinions,  with  unyielding  pertinacity.  As, 
therefore,  so  long  as  he  holds  what  this  Article  proposes  to  be 
believed,  no  man  can  be  infected  with  the  contagion  of  heresy ; 
the  pastor  should  use  every  diligence,  that  the  faithful,  knowing 
this  mystery,  and  prepared  against  the  wiles  of  Satan,  persevere 
in  the  true  faith. 

But  this  Article  hinges  upon  the  preceding  one,  for,  having 


1  D.  August  lib.  15.  de  Trinit.  cap.  xviii.  19. 
3  1  John  iii.  1.  2  Peter  i.  4 
»  1  John  iii.  1.   2  Peter  i.  4. 

2  Eph.  i.  13. 

«  Council  Trid.  Sess.  6. 
6  S.  Aug.  in  Ps.  xxx.  15 

On  the  ninth  article  of  the  Creed.  71 

already  established  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is  the  source  and  giver 
of  all  holiness,  Ave  here  confess  our  belief  in  the  Church  which 
he  has  endowed  with  sanctity. 

As  the  word  Ecclesia  (church)  which  is  borrowed  from  the  Meaning 
Greek,  has  been  applied,  since  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel,  to  of  the  word 
sacred  things,  it  becomes  necessary  to  explain  its  meaning.  The  (church.)' 
word  Ecclesia  (church)  means  a  calling  forth  ;  but  writers 
afterwards  used  it  to  signify  a  council  or  assembly.  Nor  does 
it  matter  whether  the  word  is  used  in  reference  to  the  professors 
of  a  true  or  a  false  religion :  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles  it  is 
said  of  the  people  of  Ephesus,  that,  when  the  town-clerk  had 
appeased  a  tumultuous  assemblage,  he  said :  "  and  if  you  in 
quire  after  any  other  matter,  it  may  be  decided  in  a  lawful  as 
sembly"  (Ecclesia)  r1  The  Ephesians,  who  were  worshippers 
of  Diana,  are  thus  called  by  the  Apostle,  "  a  lawful  assembly" 
(Ecclesia) :  Nor  are  the  Gentiles  only,  who  know  not  God, 
called  a  church  or  assembly,  (Ecclesia) :  the  councils  of  wicked 
and  impious  men  are  also,  sometimes,  called  by  the  same  name  : 
"  I  have  hated  the  assembly  (Ecclesiam)  of  the  malignant,"  says 
the  Psalmist,  "and  with  the  wicked  I  will  not  sit."a  However,- 
in  ordinary  Scripture-phrase,  the  word  was  afterwards  used  to 
designate  the  Christian  commonwealth  only,  and  the  assemblies 
of  the  faithful ;  that  is  of  those  Avho  were  called  by  faith  to  the 
light  of  truth,  and  the  knowledge  of  God;  who,  forsaking  the 
darkness  of  ignorance  and  error,  worship  the  living  and  true  God 
in  piety  and  holiness,  and  serve  him  from  their  whole  hearts. 
In  a  word,  "  the  Church,"  says  S.  Augustine,  "  consists  of  the 
faithful  dispersed  throughout  the  world."3 

Under  the  word   "  Church"   are  comprehended  no  unimpor-  Mysteries 
tant  mysteries,  for,    in  this   "calling  forth,"  which  the  word  Wordh(-om 
Ecclesia  (church)  signifies,  we  at  once  recognize  the  benignity  prises. 
and  splendour  of  divine  grace,  and  understand  that  the  Church 
is  very  unlike  all  other  commonwealths  :    they  rest  on  human 
reason  and  human  prudence ;  this,  on   the  wisdom  and  councils 
of  God  ;  for  he  called  us  by  the  interior  inspiration  of  the  Holy 
Ghost,  who,  through  the  ministry  and  labour  of  his  pastors,  and 
preachers,  penetrates  into  the  hearts  of  men. 

Moreover,  from  this  calling  we  shall  better  understand  the  end  In  what  it 
which   the    Christian   should  propose  to  himself,  that   is,  the  ^TnT™ 
knowledge  and   possession  of  things  eternal,  when  we  reflect  gogue. 
why  the  faithful,  living  under  the  law,  were  of  old,  called  a 
synagogue,  that  is,  a  congregation :  as  S.  Augustine  observes, 
"  they  were  so  called,  because,  like  cattle  which  usually  go  to 
gether,  they  looked  only  to  terrestrial  and  transitory  things  ;"* 
and  hence  the  Christian  people  are  called  a  church,  not  a  syna 
gogue,  because,  despising  terrestrial  and  transitory  things,  they 
aspired  only  to  things  heavenly  and  eternal. 

Many  other  names,  replete  with  mysteries,  are  employed,  by  Other 
an  easy  deflection  from  their  original  meaning,  to  designate  the 

1  Acts  xix.  39.    2  Ps.  xxv.  5.    3  S.  \ug.  in  Ps.  cxux.    1  Aug.  in  Ps.  Ixxvii.  Ixxxi. 

72  The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Christian  commonwealth :  by  the  Apostle  it  is  called  "  the 
House  and  Edifice  of  God,"  when  writing  to  Timothy,  he  says, 
"  If  I  tarry  long,  that  thou  mayest  know  how  thou  oughtest  to 
behave  thyself  in  the  house  of  God,  which  is  the  Church  of  the 

I.  living  God,  the  pillar  and  ground  of  truth."1    It  is  called  a  house 
because  it  consists,  as  it  were,  of  one  family,  governed  by  one 

II.  Father,  and  enjoying  a  community  of  all  spiritual  goods.     It  is 
also  called  the  flock  of  Christ,  of  which  he  is  "  the  door  and  the 

III-  shepherd."3  It  is  called  the  spouse  of  Christ:  "I  have  es 
poused  you  to  one  husband,"  says  the  Apostle  to  the  Corin 
thians,  "that  I  may  present  you  a  chaste  virgin  to  Christ:"3 
and  writing  to  the  Ephesians,  he  says  :  "  Husbands,  love  your 
wives,  as  Christ,  also,  loved  the  Church,  and  delivered  himself 
up  for  it  :"4  and,  also,  speaking  of  marriage,  he  says :  "  This 
is  a  great  sacrament,  but  I  speak  in  Christ  and  in  the  Church."5 

IV.  Finally,  the  Church  is  called  the  body  of  Christ,  as  may  be 
seen  in  the  epistles  of  St.  Paul  to  the  Ephesians,8  and  Colos- 
sians  :7  appellations  each  of  which  has  considerable  influence 
in  exciting  the  faithful  to  prove  themselves  worthy  the  bound 
less  clemency  and  goodness  of  God,  who  chose  them  to  be  his 
The  Having  explained  these  things,  it  will  be  necessary  to  enu- 

Church       merate  the  several  component  parts  of  the  Church,  and  point 

triumphant  i_   •      j-««  •  j         i          i^-ici  i 

and  mill-      out  their  difference,  in  order  that  the  faithful  may  the  better 

tant ;  comprehend  the  nature,  properties,  gifts,  and  graces  of  the 
Church,  the  object  of  God's  special  predilection ;  and  uncea 
singly  offer  to  the  divine  majesty  the  homage  of  their  grateful 
praise.  The  Church  consists  principally  of  two  parts,  the  one 
called  the  Church  triumphant,  the  other,  the  Church  militant.8 
Triumph-  The  Church  triumphant  is  that  most  glorious  and  happy  assem 
blage  of  blessed  spirits,  and  of  those  souls  who  have  triumphed 
over  the  world,  the  flesh,  and  the  devil,  and,  now  exempt  from 
the  troubles  of  this  life,  are  blessed  with  the  fruition  of  ever- 
Militant,  lasting  bliss.  The  Church  militant  is  the  society  of  all  the  faith 
ful  still  dwelling  on  earth,  and  is  called  militant,  because  it 
wages  eternal  war  with  those  implacable  enemies,  the  world, 
the  flesh  and  the  devil.  We  are  not,  however,  hence  to  infer 
that  there  are  two  Churches :  they  are  two  constituent  parts 
of  one  Church  ;  one  part  gone  before,  and  now  in  the  possession 
of  its  heavenly  country ;  the  other,  following  every  day,  until, 
at  length,  united  to  its  invisible  head,  it  shall  repose  in  the  frui 
tion  of  endless  felicity.9 

Composed  The  Church  militant  is  composed  of  two  classes  of  persons, 
of  the  good  the  g00j  and  the  bad,  both  professing  the  same  faith  and  par- 
and  the  ,  .  6  ,,  ,  i-/v  •  •  ,1  • 

bad.  taking  of  the  same  sacraments  ;  yet  differing  in   their  manner 

of  life  and  morality.  The  good  are  those  who  are  linked  to 
gether  not  only  by  the  profession  of  the  same  faith,  and  the  par- 

>  1  Tim.  iii.  15.       2  Ezek.  xxxiv.  5.    John  x.  7.      «  2  Cor.  xi.  2.        *  Eph.  v.  25 
5  Eph.  v.  32.  6  Eph.  i.  23.  ^  Colos.  i.  24.  8  Aug.  Ench.  c.  ]  0 

9  Aug.  lib.  ii.  de  Civ.  Dei,  c.  9. 

On  the  ninth  article  of  the  Creed.  73 

ticipation  of  the  same  sacraments ;  but  also  by  the    spirit  of 
grace,  and  the  bond  of  charity  :  of  whom  St.  Paul  says  :    "  The 
Lord  knoweth  who  are  his."1     Who  they  are  that  compose  this 
class  we,  also,  may  remotely   conjecture ;  pronounce  with  cer 
tainty  we  cannot.3     Of  this  part  of  his  Church,  therefore,  our 
Lord  does  not  speak,  when  he  refers  us  to  the  Church,  and  com 
mands  us  to  hear  and  to  obey  her  :3  unknown  as  is  that  portion 
of  the  Church,  how  ascertain  with  certainty,  whose  decision  to 
recur  to,  whose  authority  to  obey  ?     The  Church,  therefore,  as 
the  Sacred  Scriptures,   and  the  writings  of  the  holy  men  who 
are  gone  before  us,  testify,  includes  within  her  fold  the  good  and 
the  bad  :  and  this  interpretation  is  sustained  by  the  Apostle, 
when  he  says :   "  There  is  one  body  and  one  spirit."*     Thus  Figures 
understood,  the  Church  is  known,  and  is  compared  to  a  city  built  and.  com* 
on   a  mountain,  and  seen  from  every  side.5     As  all  must  yield  ofthe"8 
obedience  to  her   authority,  it  is  necessary    that  she  may  be  Church, 
known  by  all.     That  the  Church  is  composed  of  the  good  and 
the  bad  we  learn  from  many  parables  contained  in  the  Gospel : 
thus,  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  that  is,  the  Church  militant,  is 
compared  to   a  net  cast  into  the  sea,8  to  a  field  in  which  tares 
were  sown  with  the  good  grain,7  to  a  threshing  floor  on  which 
the  grain  is  mixed  up  with  the  chaff,8  and,  also,  to  ten  virgins, 
five  of  whom   were    wise,  and  five   foolish  ;B    and,    long  be 
fore,  we  trace  a  figure  and  striking  resemblance  of  the  Church 
in  the  ark  of  Noah,  which  contained  not  only  clean,  but   also 
unclean  animals.10      But,  although  the  Catholic  faith  uniformly 
and   truly  teaches  that  the   good    and    the   bad  belong  to  the 
Church,  yet  the  same  faith  declares  that  the  condition  of  both 
is  very  different :  the  wicked  are  contained  in  the  Church,  as 
the  chaff  is  mingled  with  the  grain  on  the  threshing  floor,  or  as 
dead  members,  sometimes,  remain  attached  to  a  living  body. 

Hence,  there  are  but  three  classes  of  persons  excluded  from  Those  wno 
her  pale,  infidels,  heretics  and  schismatics,  and  excommunicated  are  exclud- 
persons  ;  infidels,  because  they  never  belonged  to,  and  never  paie™n 
knew  the  Church,  and  were  never  made  partakers  of  any  of  her 
sacraments ;  heretics  and  schismatics,  because  they  have  sepa 
rated  from  the  Church,  and  belong  to  her,  only  as  deserters  be 
long  to  the  army  from  which  they  have  deserted.  It  is  not, 
however,  to  be  denied,  that  they  are  still  subject  to  the  jurisdic 
tion  of  the  Church,  inasmuch  as  they  are  liable  to  have  judg 
ment  passed  on  their  opinions,  to  be  visited  with  spiritual  punish 
ments,  and  denounced  with  anathema.  Finally,  excommunicated 
persons,  because  excluded  by  her  sentence  from  the  number  of 
her  children,  belong  not  to  her  communion  until  restored  by  re 
pentance.  But  with  regard  to  the  rest;  however  wicked  and 
flagitious,  it  is  certain  that  they  still  belong  to  the  Church ; 
and  of  this  the  faithful  are  frequently  to  be  reminded,  in  order 
to  be  convinced  that,  were  even  the  lives  of  her  ministers  de- 

1  2  Tim.  ii.  19.     2  Cone.  Trid.  Sess.  6.  c.  12.     3  Matt,  xviii.  17.     <  Eph.  iy.  4. 
6  Matt.  v.  15.  6  Matt.,  xiii.  47.  7  Matt.  xiii.  24.  8  Luke  iii.  17. 

9  Matt.  xxv.  1,2.        10  Gen.  vii.  2.    1  Pet.  iii.  20. 
7  K 

74  Tlie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

based  by  crime,  they  are  still  within  her  pale,  and,  therefore 
lose  no  part  of  the   power,  with  which  her  ministry  invests 

Other  ap-  But  portions  of  the  Universal  Church  are,  also,  usually  called 
plications  a  Church,  as  when  the  Apostle  mentions  the  Church  at  Corinth,' 
Church.  at  Galatia,2  at  Laodicea,3  at  Thessalonica.4  The  private  houses 
of  the  faithful,  he,  also,  calls  Churches :  the  Church  in  the 
house  of  Priscilla  and  Aquila  he  commands  to  be  saluted  :5  and 
in  another  place,  he  says  :  "  Aquila  and  Priscilla,  with  their 
domestic  Church,  salute  you  much."8  Writing  to  Philemon, 
he  makes  use  of  the  same  word,  in  the  same  sense.7  Some 
times,  also,  the  word  Church  is  used  to  signify  the  prelates  and 
pastors  of  the  Church  :  "  If  he  will  not  hear  thee,"  says  our 
Lord,  "  tell  it  to  the  Church."8  Here  the  word  Church  means 
the  authorities  of  the  Church.  The  place  in  which  the  faithful 
assemble  to  hear  the  word  of  God,  or  for  other  religious  pur 
poses  is,  also,  called  a  Church  ;9  but,  in  this  Article,  the  word 
is  specially  used  to  signify  the  good  and  the  bad,  the  governing 
and  the  governed. 

Distinctive       The  distinctive  marks  of  this  Church  are  also  to  be  made 
theclmrch  known  to  the  faithful,  that  thus  they  may  be  enabled  to  estimate 
the  extent  of  the  blessing,  conferred  by  God  on  those  who  have 
had  the  happiness   to  be  born  and  educated  within  her  pale. 
The  first  mark  of  the  true  Church  is  described  in  the  Creed  of 
I.         the  Fathers,  and  consists  in  unity  :   "  My  dove  is  one,  my  beau- 
Unity.         tjfuj  one  jg  one>"io     g0  vast  a  multitude,  scattered  far  and  wide, 
is  called  one,   for  the  reasons  mentioned  by  St.  Paul  in  his 
epistle  to  the   Ephesians :    "  One  Lord,  one  faith,  one    bap 
tism."11    This  Church  has,  also,  but  one  ruler  and  one  governor, 
the  invisible  one,  Christ,  whom  the  Eternal  Father  "  hath  made 
head  over  all  the  Church,  which  is  his  body  ;"ia  the  visible 
one,  him,  who,  as  legitimate  successor  of  Peter  the  prince  of 
the  Apostles,  fills  the  apostolic  chair. 

A  visible  That  this  visible  head  is  necessary  to  establish  and  preserve 
headneces-  unity  in  the  Church  is  the  unanimous  accord  of  the  Fathers; 
"  an(^  on  ^is,  ^e  sentiments  of  St.  Jerome,  in  his  work  against 
Jovinian,  are  as  clearly  conceived  as  they  are  happily  expressed : 
"  One,"  says  he,  "  is  chosen,  that,  by  the  appointment  of  a 
head,  all  occasion  of  schism  may  be  removed  ;"13  and  to  Da 
mascus,  "  Let  envy  cease,  let  the  pride  of  Roman  ambition  be 
humbled :  I  speak  to  the  successor  of  the  fisherman,  and  to  the 
disciple  of  the  cross.  Following  no  chief  but  Christ,  I  am 
united  in  communion  with  your  Holiness,  that  is,  Avith  the 
chair  of  Peter.  I  know  that  on  that  rock  is  built  the  Church. 
Whoever  will  eat  the  lamb  outside  this  house  is  profane  :  who 
ever  is  not  in  the  ark  of  Noah  shall  perish  in  the  flood."  The 

'  2  Cor.  i.  1.  2  Gal.  i.  2.  »  Colos.  iv.  16.  *  1  Thess.  i.  1. 

s  Rom.  xvi.  3-5.          6  1  Cor.  xvi.  19.      ?  Phil.  i.  2.  »  Mat.  xviii.  17. 

*  1  Cor.  xi.  18.  10  Cant.  vi.  8.          »  Eph.  iv.  5.  12£ph.  i.  22, 23. 

i3  S.  Hyeroa  lib.  1.  contr.  Jovin.  in  med.  et  epist  57. 

On  the  ninth  article  of  the  Creed.  76 

same  doctrine  was,  long  before,  established  by  S.  S.  Irenaeus,1 
and  Cyprian  :2  the  latter,  speaking  of  the  unity  of  the  Church, 
observes :  "  The  Lord  said  to  Peter,  '  I  say  to  thee  Peter ! 
thou  art  Peter :  and  upon  this  rock  I  will  build  my  Church  :'3 
he  builds  his  Church  on  one  ;  and  although,  after  his  resurrec 
tion,  he  gave  equal  power  to  all  his  Apostles,  saying,  '  As  the 
Father  hath  sent  me,  I  also  send  you.  Receive  ye  the  Holy 
Ghost  ;'4  yet,  to  display  unity,  he  disposed,  by  his  own  autho 
rity,  the  origin  of  this  unity,  which  had  its  beginning  with  one, 
&c."  Again,  Optatus  of  Milevis  says  :  "  It  cannot  be  ascribed 
to  ignorance  on  your  part,  knowing,  as  you  do,  that  the  episco 
pal  chair,  in  which,  as  head  of  all  the  Apostles,  Peter  sat,  was, 
first,  fixed  by  him  in  the  city  of  Rome ,  that  in  him  alone  may 
be  preserved  the  unity  of  the  Church ;  and  that  the  other  Apos 
tles  may  not  claim  each  a  chair  for  himself;  so  that,  now,  he, 
who  erects  another,  in  opposition  to  this  single  chair,  is  a  schis 
matic  and  a  prevaricator."5  In  the  next  place,  S.  Basil  has 
these  words :  "  Peter  is  made  the  foundation,  because  he  says  : 
'  Thou  art  Christ,  the  Son  of  the  living  God:'  and  hears  in  re 
ply  that  he  is  a  rock  ;  but  although  a  rock,  he  is  not  such  a  rock 
as  Christ,  for  in  himself  Christ  is,  truly,  an  immoveable  rock, 
but  Peter,  only  by  virtue  of  that  rock ;  for  God  bestows  his 
dignities  on  others :  He  is  a  priest,  and  he  makes  priests ;  a 
rock,  and  he  makes  a  rock :  what  belongs  to  himself,  he  be 
stows  on  his  servants."6  Lastly,  S.  Ambrose  says  :  "  Should 
any  one  object,  that  the  Church  is  content  with  one  head  and 
one  spouse,  Jesus  Christ,  and  requires  no  other ;  the  answer  is 
obvious ;  for,  as  we  deem  Christ  not  only  the  author  of  all  the 
Sacraments,  but,  also,  their  invisible  minister ;  (he  it  is  who 
baptises,  he  it  is  who  absolves,  although  men  are  appointed  by 
him  the  external  ministers  of  the  sacraments)  so  has  he  placed 
over  his  Church,  which  he  governs  by  his  invisible  spirit,  a 
man  to  be  his  vicar,  and  the  minister  of  his  power :  a  visible 
Church  requires  a  visible  head,  and,  therefore,  does  the  Saviour 
appoint  Peter  head  and  pastor  of  all  the  faithful,  when,  in  the 
most  ample  terms,  he  commits  to  his  care  the  feeding  of  all  his 
sheep  ;7  desiring  that  he,  who  was  to  succeed  him,  should  be 
invested  with  the  very  same  power  of  ruling  and  governing  the 
entire  Church." 

The   Apostle,   moreover,  writing   to    the   Corinthians,   tells  Unity  of 

them,  that  there  is  but  one  and  the  same  Spirit  who  imparts  *he  iaithuful 
.1       /•  •  i  /.  i  .  how  to  be 

grace  to  the  iaithlul,  as  the  soul  communicates  life  to  the  mem-  preserved. 

bers  of  the  body.8     Exhorting  the  Ephesians  to  preserve  this 
unity,  he  says,  "  Be  careful  to  keep  the  unity  of  the  Spirit  in        1- 
the  bond  of  peace."9     As  the  human  body  consists  of  many 
members,  animated  by  one  soul,  which  gives  sight  to  the  eyes, 

1  Iren.  lib.  3.  contr.  hseres.  cap.  3.          2  B.  Cyprian,  de  simp,  prseel.  in  principle 
fere.  3  Matt  xvi.  18.  1  John  xx.  21,  22. 

5  Optat  Initio  lib.  2.  ad  Parmen.  6  Basil,  horn.  29.  quse  est  de  psenit 

7  John  xxi.  15.  »  1  Cor.  xii  11,  12.  9  Eph.  iv.  3. 

76  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

hearing  to  the  ears,  and  to  the  other  senses,  the  power  of  dis 
charging  their  respective  functions ;  so,  the  mystical  body  of 
Christ,  which  is  the  Church,  is  composed  of  many  faithful.  The 
hope,  to  which  we  are  called,  is,  also,  one,  as  the  Apostle  tells 
us  in  the  same  place  :*  we  all  hope  for  the  same  consummation, 
eternal  life.  Finally,  the  faith,  which  all  are  bound  to  believe 
and  to  profess,  is  one  :  "  Let  there  be  no  schisms  amongst  you  ;"3 
and  baptism,  which  is  the  seal  of  our  solemn  initiation  into  the 
Christian  faith,  is,  also,  one.3 

II.  Another  distinctive  mark  of  the  Church  is  holiness,  as  we 

ess'  learn  from  these  words  of  the  prince  of  the  apostles :  "  You 
are  a  chosen  generation,  a  holy  nation."*  The  Church  is  called 
holy,  because  she  is  consecrated  and  dedicated  to  God  ;5  as  other 
things,  such  as  vessels,  vestments,  altars,  when  appropriated  and 
dedicated  to  the  worship  of  God,  although  material,  are  called 
holy ;  and,  in  the  same  sense,  the  first-born,  who  were  dedi 
cated  to  the  Most  High  God,  were,  also,  called  holy.6 

It  should  not  be  deemed  matter  of  surprise,  that  the  Church, 
although  numbering  amongst  her  children  many  sinners,  is  called 
holy ;  for  as  those  who  profess  any  art,  although  they  should 
depart  from  its  rules,  are  called  artists ;  so  the  faithful,  although 
offending  in  many  things,  and  violating  the  engagements,  to  the 
observance  of  which  they  had  solemnly  pledged  themselves, 
are  called  holy,  because  they  are  made  the  people  of  God,  and 
are  consecrated  to  Christ,  by  baptism  and  faith.  Hence,  S.  Paul 
calls  the  Corinthians  sanctified  and  holy,  although  it  is  certain 
that  amonst  them  there  were  some,  whom  he  severely  rebuked 
as  carnal,  and,  also,  charged  with  grosser  crimes.7  She  is,  also, 
to  be  called  holy,  because,  as  the  body,  she  is  united  to  her  head, 
Christ  Jesus,8  the  fountain  of  all  holiness,  from  whom  flow  the 
graces  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  the  riches  of  the  divine  bounty 
S.  Augustine  interpreting  these  words  of  the  prophet :  "  Pre 
serve  my  soul  because  I  am  holy,"9  thus  admirably  expresses 
himself:  "  Let  the  body  of  Christ  boldly  say,  let  also,  that  one 
man,  exclaiming  from  the  ends  of  the  earth,  boldly  say,  with 
Christ  his  head,  and  under  Christ  his  head ;  I  am  holy :  for  he 
received  the  grace  of  holiness,  the  grace  of  baptism  and  of  re 
mission  of  sins:"  and  a  little  after:  "If  all  Christians  and  all 
the  faithful,  having  been  baptized  in  Christ,  have  put  him  on, 
according  to  these  words  of  the  Apostle  :  '  as  many  of  you  as 
have  been  baptized  in  Christ,  have  put  on  Christ  :'10  if  they  are 
made  members  of  his  body,  and  yet  say  they  are  not  holy,  they 
do  an  injury  to  their  head,  whose  members  are  holy."11  1S> 
Moreover,  the  Church  alone  has  the  legitimate  worship  of  sa 
crifice,  and  the  salutary  use  of  the  sacraments,  by  which,  as  thr 
efficacious  instruments  of  divine  grace,  God  establishes  us  ii» 
true  holiness  ;  so  that  to  possess  true  holiness  we  must  belong 

i  Eph.  iv.  4.  2  1  Cor.  i.  10.  s  Eph.  iv.  5.  1  1  Pet.  ii.  9. 

5  Levit  xxvii.  28.  30.  «  Exod.  xiii.  12.  7  1  Cor.  i.  2.  1  Cor.  iii.  3. 

8  Eph.  iv.  15,  16.  9  Ps.  Ixxxv  2.  I0  Gal.  iii.  27. 

11  Eph.  v.  26,  27.  30.  l2  St.  Aug.  in  Psalm  Ixxxv.  2. 

On  the  ninth,  article  of  the  Creed  77 

to  this  Church.  The  Church,  therefore,  it  is  clear,  is  holy,1 
and  holy,  because  she  is  the  body  of  Christ,  by  whom  she  is 
sanctified,  and  in  whose  blood  she  is  washed.3  3 

The  third  mark  of  the  Church  is,  that  she  is  Catholic,  that  is,  m. 
universal ;  and  justly  is  she  called  Catholic,  because,  as  S.  Au-  Catholici- 
gustine  says :  "  She  is  diffused  by  the  splendour  of  one  faith  ty' 
from  the  rising  to  the  setting  sun."4  Unlike  republics  of  human 
institution,  or  the  conventicles  of  heretics,  she  is  not  circum 
scribed  within  the  limits  of  any  one  kingdom,  nor  confined  to 
the  members  of  any  one  society  of  men ;  but  embraces,  within 
the  amplitude  of  her  love,  all  mankind,  whether  barbarians  or 
Scythians,  slaves  or  freemen,  male  or  female.  Therefore  it  is 
written,  "Thou  hast  redeemed  us  to  God  in  thy  blood,  out  of 
every  tribe,  and  tongue,  and  people,  and  nation,  and  hast  made 
us  to  our  God,  a  kingdom."5  Speaking  of  the  Church,  David 
says :  "  Ask  of  me,  and  I  will  give  thee  the  Gentiles  for  thy 
inheritance,  and  the  utmost  parts  of  the  earth  for  thy  posses 
sion  :"8  and  also,  "I  will  be  mindful  of  Rahab  and  of  Baby 
lon  knowing  me  :"7  and  "  This  man  and  that  man  is  born  in 
her:"8  To  this  Church,  "built  on  the  foundation  of  the  Apos 
tles  and  Prophets,"9  belong  all  the  faithful  who  have  existed 
from  Adam  to  the  present  day,  or  who  shall  exist,  in  the  pro 
fession  of  the  true  faith,  to  the  end  of  time ;  all  of  whom  are 
founded  and  raised  upon  the  one  corner  stone,  Christ,  who  made 
both  one,  and  announced  peace  to  them  that  are  near,  and  to 
them  that  are  afar.  She  is,  also,  called  universal,  because  all 
who  desire  eternal  salvation  must  cling  to  and  embrace  her,  like 
those  who  entered  the  ark,  to  escape  perishing  in  the  flood.10 
This,  therefore,  is  to  be  taught  as  a  most  just  criterion,  to  dis 
tinguish  the  true  from  a  false  Church. 

The  true  Church  is,  also,  to  be  known  from  her  origin,  which       IV. 
she  derives  under  the  law  of  grace,  from  the  Apostles ;  for  her  A 
doctrines  are  neither  novel  nor  of  recent  origin,  but  were  deli-  y 
vered,  of  old,  by  the  Apostles,  and  disseminated  throughout  the 
world.    Hence,  no  one  can,  for  a  moment,  doubt  that  the  impi 
ous  opinions  which  heresy  invents,  opposed,  as  they  are,  to  the 
doctrines  taught  by  the  Church  from  the  days  of  the  Apostles 
to  the  present  time,  are  very  different  from  the  faith  of  the  true 
Church.     That  all,    therefore,  may  know   the   true  Catholic 
Church,  the  Fathers,  guided  by  the  Spirit  of  God,  added  to  the 
Creed  the  word  "APOSTOLIC;""  for  the  Holy  Ghost,  who  pre 
sides  over  the  Church,  governs  her  by  no  other  than  Apostolic 
men  ;  and  this  Spirit,  first  imparted  to  the  Apostles,  has,  by  the 
infinite  goodness  of  God,  always  continued  in  the  Church.    But 

'  Eph.  i.  1—4.  2  Eph.  i.  7.  13 ;  v.  26. 

3  De  sanctitate  Ecclesiee  vide  Justin.  Mart,  in  utraque  Apol.  Tert.  in  Apol.  Aug. 
contr.  Fulg.  c.  17.  Gregor.  Moral.  L.  37.  c.  7. 

4  S.  Aug.  serm.  131  &  181.  de  temp.  5  Apoc.  v.  9,  10.  6  Ps-  ii.  8. 
7  Ps.  Ixxxvi  4.             8  Ps.  Ixxxvi.  5               »  Eph.  ii.  20.             >°  Gen.  vii.  7. 

11  De  vene.  Ecclesia?  notis  vide  Aug.  contra  epist  fundament!,  cap.  4.  Tertul.  lib 
»to  de  praescript. 



Figures  of 



Church  to 
be  believ 
ed,  and 
how  ? 

by  whom 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

as  this  one  Church,  because  governed  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  can 
not  err  in  faith  or  morals,  it  necessarily  follows,  that  all  other 
societies  arrogating  to  themselves  the  name  of  Church,  because 
guided  by  the  spirit  of  darkness,  are  sunk  in  the  most  perni 
cious  errors  both  doctrinal  and  moral. 

But  as  the  figures  of  the  Old  Testament  have  considerable 
influence  in  exciting  the  minds  of  the  faithful,  and  recalling  to 
their  recollection  these  most  salutary  truths,  and  are,  principally 
on  this  account,  mentioned  by  the  Apostle,  the  pastor  will  not 
pass  by  so  copious  a  source  of  instruction.  Amongst  these 
figures  the  ark  of  Noah  holds  a  conspicuous  place.  It  was 
constructed  by  the  command  of  God,1  in  order,  no  doubt,  to 
signify  the  Church,  which  God  has  so  constituted,  as  that  who 
ever  enters  her,  through  baptism,  may  be  safe  from  all  danger 
of  eternal  death,  while  such  as  are  not  within  her,  like  those 
who  were  not  in  the  ark,  are  overwhelmed  by  their  own  crimes. 

Another  figure  presents  itself  in  the  great  city  of  Jerusalem,2 
which,  in  Scripture,  often  means  the  Church.  In  Jerusalem 
only  was  it  lawful  to  offer  sacrifice  to  God,  and  in  the  Church 
of  God  only  are  to  be  found  the  true  worship  and  true  sacrifice 
which  can,  at  all,  be  acceptable  to  God.  Finally,  with  regard 
to  the  Church,  the  pastor  will  teach  how  to  believe  the  Church 
can  constitute  an  article  of  faith.  Reason,  it  is  true,  and  the 
senses  are  competent  to  ascertain  the  existence  of  the  Church, 
that  is,  of  a  society  of  men  devoted  and  consecrated  to  Jesus 
Christ ;  nor  does  faith  seem  necessary  in  order  to  understand  a 
truth  which  is  acknowledged  by  Jews  and  Turks :  but  it  is  from 
the  light  of  faith  only,  not  from  the  deductions  of  reason,  that 
the  mind  can  comprehend  the  mysteries,  which,  as  has  been 
already  glanced  at,  and  as  shall  be,  hereafter,  more  fully  deve 
loped,  when  we  come  to  treat  of  the  Sacrament  of  Orders,  are 
contained  in  the  Church  of  God.  As,  therefore,  this  Article, 
as  well  as  the  others,  is  placed  above  the  reach,  and  defies  the 
strength,  of  the  human  understanding,  most  justly  do  we  con 
fess,  that  human  reason  cannot  arrive  at  a  knowledge  of  the 
origin,  privileges  and  dignity  of  the  Church  ;  these  we  can  con 
template  only  with  the  eyes  of  faith. 

This  Church  was  founded  not  by  man,  but  by  the  immortal 
God  himself,  who  built  her  upon  a  most  solid  rock  :  "  The 
Highest  Himself,"  says  the  Prophet,  "hath  founded  her."3 
Hence,  she  is  called  "  The  inheritance  of  God,"*  "  The  peo 
ple  of  God,"5  and  the  power,  which  she  possesses,  is  not  from 
man  but  from  God.  As  this  power,  therefore,  cannot  be  of  hu 
man  origin,  divine  faith  can  alone  enable  us  to  understand  that 
the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of  Heaven  are  deposited  with  the 
Church,6  that  to  her  has  been  confided  the  power  of  remitting 
sins  ;7  of  denouncing  excommunication  ;8  and  of  consecrating 

'  Gen.  vi,  14.  '  Gal.  iv.  26.    Heb.  xii.  22.    Deut.  xii.  11—14. 18.  21. 

IV.  Ixxxvi.  5.  "  Ps.  ii.  8.  5  Osee.  ii.  1.  6  Matt.  xvi.  19- 

~  John  xx.  23.  b  Malt,  xviii.  17. 

On  the  ninth  article  of  the.  Creed.  79 

the  real  body  of  Christ  ;*  and  that  her  children  have  not  here  a 
permanent  dwelling,  but  look  for  one  above.3 

We  are,  therefore,  bound  to  believe   that  there  is  one  Holy  We  believe 

Catholic  Church  ;  but,  with  regard  to  the  three  Persons  of  the  lh(;Clmroh, 
TT   i      rr>  •    •         i      TI    i  not  in  the 

Holy  1  nnity,  the  r  ather,  the  Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  we  not  Church 

only  believe  them,  but,  also,  believe  IN  them  ;  and  hence,  when 
speaking  of  each  dogma,  we  make  use  of  a  different  form  of 
expression,  professing  to  believe  the  holy,  not  IN  the  Holy 
Catholic  Church  ;3  by  this  difference  of  expression,  distin 
guishing  God,  the  author  of  all  things,  from  his  works,  and  ac 
knowledging  ourselves  debtors  to  the  divine  goodness  for  all  these 
exalted  benefits  bestowed  on  the  Church. 


THE  Evangelist  St.  John,  writing  to  the  faithful  on  the  di-  This  Arti- 
vine  mysteries,  tells  them,  that  he  undertook  to  instruct  them  on  cle  '°  -1?6 
the  subject ;  "  that  you,"  says  he,  "  may  have  fellowship  with  us,  explained. 
and  our  fellowship  be  with  the  Father  and  with  his  Son  Jesus 
Christ."4  This  "  fellowship"  consists  in  the  Communion  of 
Saints,  the  subject  of  the  present  Article.  Would,  that,  in  its 
exposition,  pastors  imitated  the  zeal  of  St.  Paul  and  of  the  other 
Apostles  !5  for  not  only  does  it  serve  as  an  interpretation  of  the 
preceding  Article,  and  is  a  point  of  doctrine  productive  of  abund 
ant  fruit ;  but  it  also  teaches  the  use  to  be  made  of  the  myste 
ries  contained  in  the  Creed  ;  because  the  great  end,  to  which  all 
our  researches  and  knowledge  are  to  be  directed,  is  our  admission 
into  this  most  august  and  blessed  society  of  the  saints,  and  our 
steady  perseverance  therein,  "  giving  thanks,  with  joy,  to  God 
the  Father  who  hath  made  us  worthy  to  be  partakers  of  the  lot 
of  the  saints  in  light."0 

The  faithful,  therefore,  in  the  first  place,  are  to  be  informed  In  what 

that  this  Article  is,  as  it  were,  a  sort  of  explanation  of  the  pre-  "  the  Come 
j.  i  •  i  11-  , .    .       munion  of 

ceding  one,  which  regards  the  unity,  sanctity,  and  catholicity  Saints" 

of  the  Church  :  for  the  unity  of  the  Spirit,  by  which  she  is  consists, 
governed,  establishes  among  all  her  members  a  community  of 
spiritual  blessings,  whereas  the  fruit  of  all  the  Sacraments  is 
common  to  all  the  faithful,  and  these  Sacraments,  particularly 
baptism,  the  door,  as  it  were,  by  which  we  are  admitted  into  the 
Church,7  are  so  many  connecting  links  which  bind  and  unite 
them  to  Jesus  Christ.  That  this  Communion  of  Saints  implies 
a  communion  of  Sacraments,  the  Fathers  declare  in  these  words 
of  the  Creed :  "  I  confess  one  baptism."8  After  baptism,  the 
Eucharist  holds  the  first  place  in  reference  to  this  communion  ; 
and  after  the  Eucharist,  the  other  Sacraments;  for,  although 

i  Heb.  xiii.  10.        J  Hen.  xiii.  14.      3  Aug.  serm.  131.  de.  temp.       <  John  i.  3. 
•  Aug.  in  Joan.  Tract.  32.        6  Col.  i.  12.         •  Aug.  1.  19,  contr.  Faustum.  c.  11. 
a  Damasc.  lib.  4.  de  fide  orthodox,  cap.  12.      1  Cor.  13. 


60  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

common  to  all  the  Sacraments,  because  all  unite  us  to  God,  and 
render  us  partakers  of  him  whose  grace  they  communicate  to  us, 
this  communion  belongs,  in  a  peculiar  manner,  to  the  Eucharist, 
by  which  it  is  directly  accomplished.1 

But  there  is,  also,  another  communion  in  the  Church,  which 
demands  attention :  every  pious  and  holy  action,  done  by  one, 
belongs  to  and  becomes  profitable  to  all,  through  charity,  "  which 
seeks  not  her  own."3  In  this  we  are  fortified  by  the  concur 
rent  testimony  of  St.  Ambrose,  who  explaining  these  words 
of  the  Psalmist ;  "  I  am  a  partaker  with  all  them  that  fear 
thee,"  observes  :  "  As  we  say  that  a  member  is  partaker  of  the 
entire  body,  so  are  we  partakers  with  all  that  fear  God." 
Therefore,  has  Christ  taught  us  to  say,  "  or<r,"  not  "  my"1 
bread  ;4  and  the  other  petitions  of  that  admirable  prayer  are 
equally  general,  not  confined  to  ourselves  alone,  but  directed, 
A  acriptu-  also?  to  the  general  interest,  and  salvation  of  all.  This  com- 
tion  of  this"  niunication  of  goods  is  often,  very  appositely  illustrated  in  Scrip 
ture  by  a  comparison  borrowed  from  the  members  of  the  hu 
man  body :  in  the  human  body  there  are  many  members,  but 
though  many,  they,  yet,  constitute  but  one  body,  in  which  each 
performs  its  own,  not  all,  the  same  functions.  All  do  not  enjoy 
equal  dignity,  or  discharge  functions  alike  useful  or  honourable  ; 
nor  does  one  propose  to  itself  its  own  exclusive  advantage,  but  that 
of  the  entire  body.5  Besides,  they  are  so  well  organised  and 
knit  together,  that  if  one  suffers,  the  rest  naturally  sympathise 
with  it,  and  if,  on  the  contrary,  one  enjoys  health,  the  feeling 
of  pleasure  is  common  to  all.  The  same  may  be  observed  of 
the  Church ;  although  composed  of  various  members  ;  of  dif 
ferent  nations,  of  Jews,  Gentiles,  freemen  and  slaves,  of  rich 
and  poor  ;  yet  all,  initiated  by  faith,  constitute  one  body  with 
Christ,  who  is  their  head.  To  each  member  of  the  Church,  is, 
also,  assigned  its  own  peculiar  office  ;  and  as  some  are  appointed 
apostles,  some  teachers,  but  all  for  the  common  good  ;  so  to  some 
it  belongs  to  govern  and  teach,  to  others  to  be  subject  and  to 

But,  the  advantages  of  so  many  and  such  exalted  blessings, 
bestowed  by  Almighty  God,  are  pre-eminently  enjoyed  by  those 
who  lead  a  Christian  life  in  charity,  and  are  just  and  beloved  of 
God  ;  whilst  the  dead  members,  that  is,  those  who  are  bound  in 
thraldom  of  sin,  and  estranged  from  the  grace  of  God,  although 
not  deprived  of  these  advantages,  so  as  to  cease  to  be  members 
of  this  body,  are  yet,  as  dead  members,  deprived  of  the  vivifying 
principle  which  is  communicated  to  the  just  and  pious  Chris 
tian.  However,  as  they  are  in  the  Church,  they  are  assisted  in 
recovering  lost  grace  and  life  by  those  who  are  animated  by  the 
Spirit  of  God,  and  are  in  the  enjoyment  of  those  fruits  which  are 
no  doubt,  denied  to  such  as  are,  entirely,  cut  off  from  the  com 
munion  of  the  Church.6 

This  com 
how  far 
to  the 

I  1  Cor.  x.  16.          2  1  Cor.  xiii.  5.  3  S.  Ambr.  in  Pa.  cxviii.  serm.  8.  v.  63. 

<  Matt.  vi.  11.  *  1  Cor.  xii.  14.  6  Aug.  in  Ps.  70.  serm.  2. 

On  the  tenth  article  of  the  Creed.  81 

But  the  gifts,  which  justify  and  endear  us  to  God,  are   lot  "  Graces 
alone  common  :  "  graces  gratuitously  granted,"  such  as  know-  f^^ed" 
ledge,  prophecy,  the  gifts  of  tongues  and  of  miracles,  and  others  common  to 
of  the  same  sort,1  are  common,  also,  and  are  granted  even  to  *em  vvltl' 
the  wicked ;  not,  however,  for  their  own,  but  for  the  general  l  e  g00' 
good  ;  for  the  building  up  of  the  Church  of  God.     Thus,  the 
gift  of  healing  is  given,  not  for  the  sake  of  him  who  heals,  but 
for  the  sake  of  him  who  is  healed.     In  fine,  every  true  Chris 
tian  possesses  nothing  which  he  should  not  consider  common 
to  all  others  with  himself,  and   should,  therefore,  be  prepared 
promptly  to  relieve  an  indigent  fellow-creature  ;  for  he  that  is 
blessed  with  worldly  goods,  and  sees  his  brother  in  want,  and 
will  not  assist  him,  is  at  once  convicted  of  not  having  the  love 
of  God  within  him.2     Those,  therefore,  who  belong  to  this  holy 
communion,  it  is  manifest,  enjoy  a  sort  of  happiness  here  below, 
and  may  truly  say  with  the  Psalmist :  "  How  lovely  are  thy 
tabernacles,  O  Lord  of  hosts  !  my  soul  longeth  and  fainteth  for 
the   courts  of  the  Lord.     Blessed  are  they  who   dwell  in  thy 
house,  O  Lord  !"3 



THE   enumeration  of  this  amongst  the  other  Articles  of  the  The  belief 
Creed,  is  alone   sufficient  to  satisfy  us,  that  it  conveys  a  truth,  ^le  neces 
which  is  not  only  in  itself  a  divine  mystery,  but  also  a  mystery  Sary  to  sal- 
very  necessary  to  salvation.     We  have  already  said  that,  with-  vation. 
out  a  firm  belief  of  all  the  Articles  of  the  Creed,  Christian  piety 
is  wholly  unattainable.     However,  should  a  truth,  which  ought 
to  bring  intrinsic  evidence  to  every  mind,  seem  to  require  any 
other  authority  in  its  support ;  enough   that  the  Redeemer,  a 
short  time  previous  to  his  ascension  into  heaven,  "  when  open 
ing  the  understanding  of  his  disciples,  that  they  might  under 
stand   the  Scriptures,"  bore  testimony   to    this   Article  of  the 
Creed,  in   these  words :  "  It  behoved  Christ  to  suffer,  and  to 
rise  again  from  the  dead  the  third  day,  and  that  penance  and  re 
mission  of  sins,  should  be  preached,  in  his  name,  unto  all  nations, 
beginning  at  Jerusalem."*     Let  the  pastor  but  weigh  well  these  Obliga  ion 
words,  and  he  will  readily  perceive,  that  the  Lord  has  laid  him  ^r'tTex^ 
under  a  most  sacred  obligation,  not  only  of  making  known  to  plain  it  to 
the  faithful,  whatever  regards  religion  in  general,  but  also  of  ex-  the  people, 
plaining,  with  particular  care,  this  article  of  the  Creed.  On  this 
point  of  doctrine,  then,  it  is  the  bounden  duty  of  the  pastor  to 
teach  that,  not  only  is   "  forgiveness  of  sins"  to  be  found  in  the 
Catholic  Church,  as  Isaias  had  foretold  in  these  words  :  "  The 

i  1  Cor.  xiii.  2.        2  ]  John  lii.  17.        3  Ps.  hxxiii.  2.  5.         *  Luke  i.xiv.  46,  47. 


82  Tlit  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

people  that  dwell  therein  shall  have  their  iniquity  taken  away 
from  them;"1  but,  also,  that  in  her  resides  the  power  of  for 
giving  sins  ;3  which  power,  if  exercised  duly,  and  according  to 
the  laws  prescribed  by  our  Lord,  is,  we  are  bound  to  believe, 
such  as,  truly  to  pardon  and  remit  sins. 

Baptism  But,  when  we  first  make  a  profession  of  faith  at  the  baptismal 

remits  all     font?  an(i  are   cleansed  in  its  purifying  waters,  we  receive  this 
the  punish-  pardon  entire  and  unqualified  ;  so  that  no  sin,  original  or  actual,  of 
ments  due   commission  or  omission,  remains  to  be  expiated,  no  punishment 
to  them.       ^Q  ke  entuire(if     rj;he  grace  of  baptism,  however,  does  not  give 
exemption  from  all  the  infirmities  of  nature :  on  the  contrary, 
contending,  as  we  each  of  us  have  to  contend,  against  the  mo 
tions  of  concupiscence,  which  ever  tempts  us  to  the  commission 
of  sin,  there  is  scarcely  one  to  be  found  amongst  us,  who  op 
poses  so  vigorous  a  resistance  to  its  assaults,  or  who  guards  his 
salvation  so  vigilantly,  as  to  escape  all  the  snares  of  Satan.3 
The  power       It  being  necessary,  therefore,  that  a  power  of  forgiving  sins, 
of  the  keys  distinct  from  that  of  baptism,  should  exist  in  the  Church,  to  hei 
theChurch.  were  entrusted  the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  by  which 
each  one,  if  penitent,  may  obtain  the  remission  of  his  sins,  even 
though  he  were  a  sinner  to  the  last  day  of  his  life.     This  truth 
is  vouched  by  the  most  unquestionable  authority  of  the  Sacred 
Scriptures :  in  St.  Matthew,  the  Lord  says  to  Peter  :  "  I  will 
give  to  thee  the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven  ;  and  whatever 
thou  shalt  bind  on  earth  shall  be  bound  also  in  heaven ;  and 
whatever  thou  shalt  loose  on  earth,  shall  be  loosed  also  in  hea 
ven  :"*  and  again,  "  whatever  you  shall  bind  on  earth  shall  bt 
bound  also   in  heaven  ;  and  whatever  you  shall  loose  on  earth 
shall  be  loosed  also  in  heaven."5     Again,  the  testimony  of  St 
John  assures  us  that  the  Lord,  breathing  on  the  Apostles,  said 
"  Receive   ye  the  Holy  Ghost,   whose  sins  you  shall  forgive 
they  are  forgiven  them  ;  and  whose  sins  you  shall  retain,  they 
Thispower  are  retained."8     Nor  is  the  exercise  of  this  power  restricted  to 
extends  to   particular  sins,  for  no  crime,  however  heinous,  can  be  committed, 
ms-       whkh  the   Church  has  not  power  to  forgive  :  as,  also,  there  is 
no  sinner,  however  abandoned,  none,  however  depraved,  who 
should  not  confidently  hope  for  pardon,  provided  he  sincerely 
repent  of  his  past  transgressions.7     Neither  is  the  exercise  of 
this  power  restricted  to  particular  times  ;  for  whenever  the  sin 
ner  turns  from  his  evil  ways,  he   is  not  to  be  rejected,  as  we 
learn  from  the  reply  of  our  Lord  to  the  prince  of  the  Apostles, 
asking   how   often   we    should   pardon    an    offending   brother, 
whether  seven  times :  "  Not  only  seven  times,"  says  the  Re 
deemer,  "  but  even  seventy  times  seven."8 

Butiscon-  But  if  we  look  to  its  ministers,  or  to  the  manner  in  which  it 
fined  to  hi-  js  to  be  exercised,  the  extent  of  this  power  will  not  appear  so 
great ;  for  it  is  a  power  not  given  to  all,  but  to  bishops  and 

'  Isaias  xxxiii.  24.  2  Aug.  hoinil.  49.  cap.  3.  3  Trident,  Sess.  v.  can.  5 

Aug.  1,  2,  de  pecoat.  merit,  c.  28.    <  Matt.  xvi.  19.    5  Matt,  xviii.  18.     b  John  xx.  23 
7  Ambros.  lib.  1.  de  poeniu  c.  1,  2.  Aug.  in  Ench.  c.  93.  <>  Matt,  xviii.  21,  22. 

On  the  tenth  article  of  the  Creed.  83 

priests  only ;  and  sins  can  be  forgiven  only  through  the  Sacra 
ments,  when  duly  administered.  The  Church  has  received  no 
power  otherwise  to  remit  sin.1 

But  to  raise  the  admiration  of  the  faithful,  for  this  heavenly  Its  inesti- 

gift,  bestowed  on  the  Church  by  the  singular  mercy  of  God  to-  mi, 
wards  us,  and  to  make  them  approach  its  use  with  the  more  V< 
lively  sentiments  of  devotion ;  the  pastor  will  endeavour  to 
point  out  the  dignity  and  the  extent  of  the  grace  which  it  im 
parts.  If  there  be  any  one  means  better  calculated  than  another 
to  accomplish  this  end,  it  is,  carefully  to  show  how  great  must 
be  the  efficacy  of  that  which  absolves  from  sin,  and  restores  the 
unjust  to  a  state  of  justification.  This  is,  manifestly,  an  effect 
of  the  infinite  power  of  God,  of  that  same  power  which  we  be 
lieve  to  have  been  necessary  to  raise  the  dead  to  life,  and  to 
summon  creation  into  existence.3  But  if  it  be  true,  as  the  au 
thority  of  St.  Augustine  assures  us  it  is,3  that,  to  recall  a  sinner 
from  the  state  of  sin  to  that  of  righteousness,  is  even  a  greater 
work  than  to  create  the  heavens  and  the  earth  from  nothing, 
though  their  creation  can  be  no  other  than  the  effect  of  infinite 
power  ;  it  follows,  that  we  have  still  stronger  reason  to  consider 
the  remission  of  sins,  as  an  effect  proceeding  from  the  exercise 
of  this  same  infinite  power.  With  great  truth,  therefore,  have 
the  ancient  Fathers  declared,  that  God  alone  can  forgive  sins, 
and  that  to  his  infinite  goodness  and  power  alone  is  so  wonder 
ful  a  work  to  be  referred :  "  I  am  he,"  says  the  Lord  himself, 
by  the  mouth  of  his  prophet,  "  I  am  he,  who  blotteth  out  your 
iniquities."4  The  remission  of  sins  seems  to  bear  an  exact  ana 
logy  to  the  cancelling  of  a  pecuniary  debt :  as,  therefore,  none 
but  the  creditor  can  forgive  a  pecuniary  debt,  so  the  debt  of  sin, 
which  we  owe  to  God  alone,  (and  our  daily  prayer  is  :  "  for 
give  us  our  debts,"5)  can,  it  is  clear,  be  forgiven  by  him  alone, 
and  by  none  else. 

But  this  wonderful  gift,  this  emanation  of  the  divine  bounty,  First  given 
was  never  communicated  to  creatures,  until  God  became  man    to  Christ 
Christ  our  Lord,  although  true  God,  was  the  first  who,  as  man,  ** 
received  this  high  prerogative  from  his  heavenly  Father  :  "  That 
you  may  know,"  says  he  to  the  paralytic,  "  that  the  Son  of  Man 
hath  power  on  earth  to  forgive  sins,  rise,  take  up  thy  bed,  and 
go  into  thy  house."8     As,  therefore,  he  became  man,  in  order 
to  bestow  on  man  this  forgiveness  of  sins,  he  communicated  this 
power  to  bishops  and  priests  in  the  Church,  previously  to  his 
ascension  into  heaven,  there  to  sit  for  ever  at  the  right  hand  of 
God.     Christ,  however,  as  we  have  already  said,  remits  sin  by 
virtue  of  his  own  authority  ;  all  others  by  virtue  of  his  authority 
delegated  to  them  as  his  ministers. 

If,  therefore,  whatever  is  the  effect  of  infinite  power  claims  The  great 
our  highest  admiration,  and  commands  our  profoundest  reve-  e^ 

1  Trid.  Sess.  14.  c.  6.  Hier.  epist.  1.  post  med.  Ambr.  de  Cain  et  Abel,  c.  4. 

2  Trid.  Sess.  6.  c.  7.  &  Sess.  14.  1,  2.  Arc.  tract.  7.  2.  in  Joan. 

3  Aug.  lib.  1.  de  pecc.  merit,  c.  23.  1.  50.  horn.  23.  Ambr.  de  Abel,  cap.  4. 

4  Isuias  xliii.  25.  *  Matt.  vi.  11.  «  Matt.  ix.  G.       Mark  ii.  9, 



Mortal  sin, 
how  great 
an  evil. 

The  faith 
ful  should 
have  re 
course  to 
the  exer 
cise  of  thia 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent* 

rence ;  we  must  readily  perceive  that  this  gift,  bestowed  on  the 
Church  by  the  bounteous  hand  of  Christ  our  Lord,  is  one  of 
inestimable  value.  The  manner,  too,  in  which  God,  in  the  full 
ness  of  his  paternal  clemency,  resolved  to  cancel  the  sins  of  the 
world,  must  powerfully  excite  the  faithful  to  the  contemplation 
of  this  great  blessing :  it  was  his  will  that  our  offences  should 
be  expiated  in  the  blood  of  his  only  begotten  Son,  that  he  should 
voluntarily  assume  the  imputability  of  our  sins,  and  suffer  a 
most  cruel  death ;  the  just  for  the  unjust,  the  innocent  for  the 
guilty.1  When,  therefore,  we  reflect,  that  "  we  were  not  redeem 
ed  with  corruptible  things,  as  gold  or  silver,  but  with  the  pre 
cious  blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb  unspotted  and  undenled  ;"a 
we  are  naturally  led  to  conclude  that  we  could  have  received  no 
gift  more  salutary  than  this  power  of  forgiving  sins,  which  pro 
claims  the  ineffable  providence  of  God,  and  the  excess  of  his 
love  towards  us. 

This  reflection  must  produce,  in  all,  the  most  abundant 
spiritual  fruit ;  for  whoever  offends  God,  even  by  one  mortal 
sin,  instantly  forfeits  whatever  merits  he  may  have  previously 
acquired  through  the  sufferings  and  death  of  Christ,  and  is  en 
tirely  shut  out  from  the  gate  of  heaven,  which,  when  already 
closed,  was  thrown  open  to  all  by  the  Redeemer's  passion. 
And,  indeed,  when  this  reflection  enters  into  the  mind,  impos 
sible  not  to  feel  impressed  with  the  most  anxious  solicitude,  and 
contemplating  the  picture  of  human  misery  which  it  presents 
to  our  view.  But  if  we  turn  our  attention  to  this  admirable 
power  with  which  God  has  invested  his  Church ;  and,  in  the 
firm  belief  of  this  Article,  feel  convinced  that  to  every  sinner  is 
offered  the  means  of  recovering,  with  the  assistance  of  divine 
grace,  his  former  dignity ;  we  can  no  longer  resist  sentiments 
of  exceeding  joy,  and  gladness,  and  exultation,  and  must  offer 
immortal  thanks  to  God.  If,  when  labouring  under  some  severe 
malady,  the  medicines  prepared  for  us  by  the  art  and  industry 
of  the  physician,  generally  become  grateful  and  agreeable  to  us ; 
how  much  more  grateful  and  agreeable  should  those  remedies 
prove,  which  the  wisdom  of  God  has  established  to  heal  our 
spiritual  maladies,  and  restore  us  to  the  life  of  grace ;  remedies 
which,  unlike  the  medicines  used  for  the  recovery  of  bodily 
health,  bring  with  them,  not,  indeed,  uncertain  hope  of  recovery, 
but  certain  health  to  such  as  desire  to  be  cured. 

The  faithful,  therefore,  having  formed  a  just  conception  of 
the  dignity  of  so  excellent  and  exalted  a  blessing,  should  be  ex 
horted  to  study,  religiously,  to  turn  it,  also,  to  good  account  • 
for  he  who  makes  no  use  of  what  is  really  useful  and  necessary 
affords  a  strong  presumption  that  he  despises  it ;  particularly  as, 
in  communicating  to  the  Church  the  power  of  forgiving  sins, 
the  Lord  did  so  with  the  view,  that  all  should  have  recourse  to 
this  healing  remedy ;  for,  as  without  baptism,  no  man  can  be 
cleansed  from  original  sin,  so,  without  the  sacrament  of  penance, 

1  Pet  Ui.  18. 

3  1  Pet  i.  18, 19. 

On  the  eleventh  article  of  the  Creed.  85 

which  is  another  means  instituted  by  God  to  cleanse  from  sin, 
he  who  desires  to  recover  the  grace  of  baptism,  forfeited  by 
actual  mortal  guilt,  cannot  recover  lost  innocence. 

But  here  the  faithful  are  to  be  admonished  to  guard  against  Danger  of 
the  danger  of  becoming  more  prepense  to  sin,  or  slow  to  re- 
prntance,  from  a  presumption  that  they  can  have  recourse  to 
this  plenary  power  of  forgiving  sins,  which,  as  we  have  already 
said,  is  unrestricted  by  time ;  for  as  such  a  propensity  to  sin, 
must,  manifestly,  convict  them  of  acting  injuriously  and  contu 
maciously  to  this  divine  power,  and  must,  therefore  render  them 
unworthy  of  the  divine  mercy ;  so,  this  slowness  to  repentance 
must  afford  great  reason  to  apprehend,  lest  overtaken  by  death, 
they  may,  in  vain,  confess  their  belief  in  the  remission  of  sins, 
which  their  tardiness  and  procrastination  have,  deservedly,  for 



THAT  this  Article  supplies  a  convincing  proof  of  the  truth  of  Importance 
our  faith,  is  evinced  by  the  circumstance  of  its  not  only  being  °ici*ls  Ar~ 
proposed,  in  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  to  the  belief  of  the  faithful, 
but  also  fortified  by  numerous  arguments.  This  we  scarcely 
find  to  be  the  case  with  regard  to  the  other  Articles  :  a  circum 
stance  which  justifies  the  inference  that  on  it,  as  on  its  most 
solid  basis,  rests  our  hope  of  salvation ;  for  according  to  the 
reasoning  of  the  Apostle,  "  If  there  be  no  resurrection  of  the 
dead,  then  Christ  is  not  risen  again  ;  and  if  Christ  be  not  risen 
again,  then  is  our  preaching  vain,  and  your  faith  is  also  vain."a 
The  zeal  and  assiduity,  therefore,  of  the  pastor  in  its  exposition 
should  not  be  inferior  to  the  labour  which  impiety  has  expended 
in  fruitless  efforts  to  overturn  its  truth.  That  eminently  im 
portant  advantages  flow  to  the  faithful  from  the  knowledge  of 
this  Article  will  appear  from  the  sequel. 

And,  first,  that  in  this  Article  the  resurrection  of  mankind  is  The  resur- 
called  "  the  resurrection  of  the  body,"  is  a  circumstance  which  J^'kimf 
deserves  attention.     The  Apostles  had  for  object,  (for  it  is  not  why  caln-d 
without  its  object,)  thus  to  convey  an  important  truth,  the  im-  "theresur- 
mortality  of  the  soul.     Lest,  therefore,  contrary  to  the  Sacred  [jjj;  j^"  >. 
Scriptures,  which,  in  many  places,  teach  the  soul  to  be  immor 
tal,3  any  one  may  imagine  that  it  dies  with  the  body,  and  that 
both  are  to  be  resuscitated,  the  Creed  speaks  only  of  "  the  re 
surrection  of  the  body."     The  word,  "  caro,"  which  is  used 

1  Aug.  in  Joan.  Tract.  S3.  et  lib.  50.  homil.  41.  Ambross.  lib.  2.  de  premt.  c.  1,  2. 
&  1 1 .  a  1  Cor.  xv.  1 3, 14.  3  Wis.  ii.  23 ;  lii.  4.    Malt  x.  28 ; 

xxii.  31,  32. 


Proofs  of 
the  resur 
rection  of 
the  body. 

36  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

in  the  symbol,  translated  literally,  means  "  flesh :"  a  word, 
which,  though  of  frequent  occurrence  in  Scripture  to  signify 
the  whole  man,  soul  and  body,  as  in  Isaias,  "  All  flesh  is  grass  ;"- 
and  in  St.  John,  "  The  Word  was  made  flesh  ;"2  is,  however 
used,  here,  to  express  the  body  only  ;  thus  giving  us  to  under 
stand,  that  of  the  two  constituent  parts  of  man,  one  only,  that 
is  the  body,  is  corrupted,  and  returns  to  its  original  dust ;  whilst 
the  soul  remains  incorrupt  and  immortal.  As  then,  without 
dying,  a  man  cannot  be  said  to  return  to  life  ;  so  the  soul,  which 
never  dies,  could  not,  with  propriety,  be  said  to  rise  again. 
The  word  body,  is,  also,  mentioned,  in  order  to  confute  the 
heresy  of  Hymeneus  and  Philetus,  who  during  the  life-time  of 
the  Apostle,  asserted,  that,  whenever  the  Scriptures  speak  of  the 
resurrection,  they  are  to  be  understood  to  mean  not  the  resur 
rection  of  the  body,  but  that  of  the  soul,  by  which  it  rises  from 
the  death  of  sin  to  the  life  of  grace.3  The  words  of  this  Ar 
ticle,  therefore,  clearly  confute  the  error,  and  establish  a  real 
resurrection  of  the  body. 

But  it  will  be  the  duty  of  the  pastor  to  illustrate  this  truth  by 
examples  taken  from  the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  and  froir 
all  ecclesiastical  history.  In  the  Old  Testament,  some  were 
restored  to  life  by  Elias,4  and  Elizeus  ;s  and  in  the  New,  be 
sides  those  who  were  raised  to  life  by  our  Lord,8  many  were 
resuscitated  by  the  Apostles,  and  by  others.7  Their  resurrec 
tion  confirms  the  doctrine  conveyed  by  this  Article,  for  believing 
that  many  were  recalled  from  death  to  life,  we  are  also  naturallj 
led  to  believe  the  general  resurrection  of  all ;  and  the  principal 
fruit  which  we  should  derive  from  these  miracles  is  to  yield  tt 
this  Article  our  most  unhesitating  belief.  To  pastors,  ordinarily 
conversant  with  the  Sacred  Volumes,  many  Scripture  proofs  will, 
at  once,  present  themselves ;  but,  in  the  Old  Testament,  the 
most  conspicuous  are  those  afforded  by  Job,  when  he  says, 
"  that  in  his  flesh  he  shall  see  God  ;"8  and  by  Daniel  when, 
speaking  of  those  "  who  sleep  in  the  dust  of  the  earth,"  he  says, 
"  some  shall  awake  to  eternal  life,  others  to  eternal  reproach."8 
In  the  New  Testament  the  principal  passages  are  those  of  St. 
Matthew,  which  record  the  disputation  which  our  Lord  held 
with  the  Sadducees  ;10  and  those  of  the  Evangelists  which  relate 
to  the  last  judgment.11  To  these  we  may  also  add,  the  accurate 
reasoning  of  the  Apostle,  on  the  subject,  in  his  epistles  to  the 
Corinthians,12  and  Thessalonians.13 

Illustrated  But,  incontrovertibly  as  is  this  truth  established  by  faith,  it 
by  compa-  will,  notwithstanding,  be  of  material  advantage  to  show  from 
analogy  and  reason,  that  what  faith  proposes  to  our  belief,  nature 
acknowledges  to  accord  with  her  laws,  and  reason  with  her  dic 
tate.  To  one,  asking  how  the  dead  should  rise  again,  the 
Apostle  answers ;  "  Foolish  man  !  that  which  thou  sowest  is 

i  Isaias  xl.  6.  2  john  i.  14.  =»  2  Tim.  ii.  17.  "3  Kings  xvii.  21, 22 

5  4  Kings  iv.  34 ;  xiii.  21.  6  Matt.  ix.  25.    Luke  yii.  14, 15.    John  xi.  43, 44 

i  Acts  ix.  40 ;  xx.  10.          «  Job  xix.  26.  9  Dan.  xii.  2.  lo  Matt.  xxii.  31 

"  John  v.  25 ;  xxviii.  29.  12  1  Cor.  xv.  13 1  Thess.  iv.  13. 

On  the  eleventh  article  of  the  Creed  87 

not  quickened,  except  it  die  first;  and  that  which  them  sowest, 
thou  sowest  not  the  body  that  shall  be  ;  but  bare  grain  as  of 
wheat,  or  of  some  of  the  rest ;  but  God  giveth  it  a  body  as  he 
will :"  and  a  little  after,  "  It  is  sown  in  corruption,  it  shall  rise 
in  incorruption."1  St.  Gregory,  calls  our  attention  to  many 
other  arguments  of  analogy  tending  to  the  same  effect:  "  The 
sun,"  says  he,  "  is  every  day  withdrawn  from  our  eyes,  as  it  were, 
by  dying,  and  is  again  recalled,  as  it  Avere,  by  rising  again  :  trees 
lose,  and  again,  as  it  were,  by  a  resurrection,  resume  their  ver 
dure  :  seeds  die  by  putrefaction,  and  rise  again  by  germination."3 

The  reasons,  also,  adduced  by  ecclesiastical  writers,  are  well  Proved  by 
calculated  to  establish  this  truth.  In  the  first  place,  as  the  soul 
is  immortal,  and  has,  as  part  of  man,  a  natural  propensity  to  be  son 
united  to  the  body,  its  perpetual  separation  from  it  must  be  con 
sidered  contrary  to  nature.  But  as  that  which  is  contrary  to 
nature,  and  offers  violence  to  her  laws,  cannot  be  permanent,  it 
appears  congruous  that  the  soul  should  be  reunited  to  the  body ; 
and,  of  course,  that  the  body  should  rise  again.  This  argu 
ment,  our  Saviour  himself  employed,  when,  in  his  disputation 
with  the  Sadducees,  he  deduced  the  resurrection  of  the  body 
from  the  immortality  of  the  soul.3 

In  the  next  place,  as  an  all-just  God  holds  out  punishments 
to  the  wicked,  and  rewards  to  the  good,  and  as  very  many  of 
the  former  depart  this  life  unpunished  for  their  crimes,  and  of 
the  latter  unrewarded  for  their  virtues  ;  the  soul  should  be  re 
united  to  the  body,  in  order,  as  the  partner  of  her  crimes,  or  the 
companion  of  her  virtues,  to  become  a  sharer  in  her  punishments 
or  her  rewards.4  This  view  of  the  subject  has  been  admirably 
treated  by  St.  Chrysostom  in  his  homily  to  the  people  of  An 
tioch.5  To  this  effect,  the  Apostle  speaking  of  the  resurrection, 
says,  "  If  in  this  life  only,  we  have  hope  in  Christ,  we  are  of 
all  men  the  most  miserable."8  These  words  of  St.  Paul  cannot 
be  supposed  to  refer  to  the  misery  of  the  soul,  which,  because 
immortal,  is  capable  of  enjoying  happiness  in  a  future  life,  were 
the  body  not  to  rise ;  but  to  the  whole  man ;  for,  unless  the 
body  receive  the  due  rewards  of  its  labours,  those,  who,  like 
the  Apostles,  endured  so  many  afflictions  and  calamities  in  this 
life,  should  necessarily  be  "  the  most  miserable  of  men."  On 
this  subject  the  Apostle  is  much  more  explicit  in  his  epistle  to 
the  Thessalonians :  "  We  glory  in  you,"  says  he,  "  in  the 
Churches  of  God,  that  you  may  be  counted  worthy  of  the  king 
dom  of  God,  for  which,  also,  you  suffer :  seeing  it  is  a  just 
thing  with  God  to  repay  tribulation  to  them  that  trouble  you  ; 
and  to  you  who  are  troubled,  rest  with  us,  when  the  Lord  Jesus 
shall  be  revealed  from  heaven  with  the  angels  of  his  power ;  in 
a  flame  of  fire,  yielding  vengeance  to  them  who  know  not  God, 
and  who  obey  not  the  Gospel  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ."7 

1 1  Cor  xv.  36—42.  2  S.  Gregor.  lib.  14.  moral,  c.  28—30. 

3  Matt.  xxii.  23.  4  Damasc.  lib.  4.  de  fide  orthod.  cap.  28.  Ambros.  lib. 

de  fide  resurr.  *  S.  Chrysostom,  bornil.  49  and  50.  t>  1  Cor.  xv.  19. 

72Thess.  1.  4. 


The  resur 
rection  of 
all  not  the 

All  shall 
die  to  rise 

All  shall 
rise  in  their 
own  bodies. 

The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Again,  whilst  the  soul  is  separated  from  the  body,  man  cannot 
enjoy  the  consummation  of  happiness,  replete  with  every  good; 
for  as  a  part,  separated  from  the  whole,  is  imperfect,  the  soul 
separated  from  the  body  must  be  imperfect ;  and,  therefore,  that 
nothing  may  be  wanting  to  fill  up  the  measure  of  its  happiness, 
the  resurrection  of  the  body  is  necessary.  By  these,  and  simi 
lar  arguments,  the  pastor  will  be  able  to  instruct  the  faithful  in 
this  Article. 

He  should  also,  carefully  explain,  from  the  Apostle,  who  are 
to  be  raised  to  life.  Writing  to  the  Corinthians,  St.  Paul  says, 
"  as  in  Adam  all  die,  so,  also,  in  Christ  all  should  be  made 
alive."1  Good  and  bad,  then,  without  distinction,  shall  all  rise 
from  the  dead,  although  the  condition  of  all  shall  not  be  the 
same — those  who  have  done  good,  shall  rise  to  the  resurrection 
of  life ;  and  those  who  have  done  evil,  to  the  resurrection  of 

When  we  say  "  all,"  we  mean  those  who  shall  have  died 
before  .the  day  of  judgment,  as  well  as  those  who  shall  then 
die.  That  the  Church  acquiesces  in  the  opinion  which  asserts 
that  all,  without  distinction,  shall  die,  and  that  this  opinion  is 
more  consonant  to  truth,  is  recorded  by  the  pen  of  St.  Jerome,2 
whose  authority  is  fortified  by  that  of  St.  Augustine.3  Nor  does 
the  Apostle,  in  his  epistle  to  the  Thessalonians,  dissent  from 
this  doctrine,  when  he  says  ;  "  The  dead  who  are  in  Christ 
shall  rise  first,  then  we  who  are  alive,  who  are  left,  shall  be 
taken  up  together  with  them  in  the  clouds  to  meet  Christ,  into 
the  air."4  St.  Ambrose  explaining  these  words  says,  "  In  that 
very  taking  up,  death  shall  anticipate,  as  it  were  by  a  deep 
sleep,  and  the  soul,  having  gone  forth  from  the  body,  shall  in 
stantly  return ;  for  those  who  are  alive,  when  taken  up,  shall 
die,  that,  coming  to  the  Lord,  they  may  receive  their  souls  from 
his  presence ;  because  in  his  presence  they  cannot  be  dead."5 
This  opinion  is  fortified  by  the  authority  of  St.  Augustine  in  his 
book  on  the  City  of  God.6 

But  as  it  is  of  vital  importance  to  be  fully  convinced  that  the 
identical  body,  which  belongs  to  each  one  of  us  during  life, 
shall,  though  corrupt,  and  dissolved  into  its  original  dust,  be 
raised  up  again  to  life ;  this,  too,  is  a  subject  which  demands 
accurate  explanation  from  the  pastor.  It  is  a  truth  conveyed 
by  the  Apostle  in  these  words  ;  "  This  corruptible  must  put  on 
incorruption  ;"7  emphatically  designating  by  the  word  "  this," 
the  identity  of  our  bodies.  It  is  also,  evident  from  the  prophecy 
of  Job,  than  which  nothing  can  be  more  express  :  "  I  shall  see 
my  God,"  says  he,  "  whom  I  myself  shall  see,  and  mine  eyes 
behold,  and  not  another."8  Finally,  if  we  only  consider  the 
very  definition  of  resurrection,  we  cannot,  reasonably,  entertain 
a  shadow  of  doubt  on  the  subject;  for  resurrection,  as  Damas- 

1 1  Cor.  xv.  22.        2  S.  Hieron.  epist  152.       3  August,  de  Civil.  Dei.  lib.  xx.  c.  20. 
«  1  Thess.  v  15,  16.  °  In  1.  epist.  ad  Thess.  c.  4.  6  Lib.  xx.  c.  20. 

7 1  Cor.  xv.  53.  h  Job  xix.  26,  27. 

On  the  eleventh  article  of  the  Creed.  89 

ceqe  defines  it,  is  "  a  return  to  the  state  from  which  one  has 
fallen."1  Finally,  if  we  consider  the  arguments  by  which  we 
have  already  established  a  future  resurrection,  every  doubt  on 
the  subject  must,  at  once,  disappear.  We  have  said  that  the 
body  is  to  rise  again,  that  "  every  one  may  receive  the  proper 
things  of  the  body,  according  as  he  hath  done,  whether  it  be 
good  or  evil."3  Man  is,  therefore,  to  rise  again,  in  the  same 
body  with  which  he  served  God,  or  was  a  slave  to  the  devil ; 
that  in  the  same  body  he  may  experience  rewards,  and  a  crown 
of  victory,  or  endure  the  severest  punishments,  and  never  end 
ing  torments. 

Not  only  will  the  body  rise,  but  it  will  rise  endowed  with  In  what 
whatever  constitutes  the  reality  of  its  nature,  and  adorns  and  stat?  the 
ornaments  man  :  according  to  these  admirable  words  of  St.  ^Hise. 
Augustine  :  "  There  shall,  then,  be  no  deformity  of  body  ;  if 
some  have  been  overburdened  with  flesh,  they  shall  not  resume 
its  entire  weight;  whatever  shall  exceed  the  proper  habit  shall 
be  deemed  superfluous.  On  the  other  hand,  should  the  body 
be  wasted  by  the  malignity  of  disease,  or  the  debility  of  old  age, 
or  be  emaciated  from  any  other  cause,  it  shall  be  recruited  by 
the  divine  power  of  Jesus  Christ,  who  will  not  only  restore  the 
body,  but  repair  whatever  it  shall  have  lost  through  the  wretch 
edness  of  this  life."3  In  another  place  he  says ;  "  Man  shall 
not  resume  his  former  hair,  but  shall  be  adorned  with  such  as 
will  become  him,  according  to  these  words  of  the  Redeemer, 
'  The  very  hairs  of  your  head  are  all  numbered  :'4  God  will  re 
store  them  according  to  his  wisdom."5 

The  members,  because  essential  to  the   integrity   of  human  None  shall 
nature,  shall  all  be  restored  :  the  blind  from  nature  or  disease,  the  rise  maim- 
lame,  the  maimed,  and  the  paralysed  shall  rise  again  with  per-  ed' 
feet  bodies  :  otherwise  the  desires  of  the  soul,  which  so  strongly 
incline  it  to  a  union  with  the  body,  should  be  far  from  satisfied ; 
and  yet  we  are  convinced,  that  in  the  resurrection,  these  desires 
shall  be    fully  realized.       Besides,  the  resurrection,  like    the 
creation,  is  clearly  to  be  numbered  amongst  the  principal  works 
of  God.     As,  therefore,  at  the  creation,  all  things  came  perfect 
from  the  hand  of  God ;  so,  at  the  resurrection  shall  all  things  be 
perfectly  restored  by  the  same  omnipotent  hand. 

These  observations  are  not  to  be  restricted  to  the  bodies  of  The  scars 
the  martyrs  ;  of  whom  St.  Augustine  says  :  "  As  the  mutilation  °f  the  mar- 
which  they  suffered  should  prove  a  deformity,  they  shall  rise  £"  ^"il 

•     -i  11          -|          .  .  i  •  i  w   *  4  M    II!<IJI1     UJ 

with  all  their  members ;  otherwise  those  who   were  beheaded  their  glory: 
should  rise  without  a  head.     The  scars,  however,  which  they  *he  mefm~ 
received,  shall   remain,    shining   like  the    wounds    of   Christ,  wicked 
with  a  brilliancy  far  more  resplendant  than  that  of  gold  and  of  shall  be  re- 
precious  stones."8     The   wicked  too,  shall  rise  with  all  then  ^^9° 
members,  although  they  should  have  been  lost  through  their  own  their  pu 

1  Damasc.  lib.  iv  de  fid.  orthod.  28.  2  2  Cor.  v.  10.  3  S.  Aug.  1.  xxii. 

de  Civil.  Dei,  c.  19—21.  &  Ench.  c.  86—89.    Hierm.  Epist.  59.  61. 
4  Luke  xii.  7.        6  S.  Aug  Ench.  c.  kxxvi.         6  Lib.  xxii.  de  Civ.  Dei,  c.  20 

8*  M 

90  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

fault :  for  the  greater  the  number  of  members  which  they  shall 
have,  the  greater  shall  be  their  torments  ;  and,  therefore,  this 
restoration  of  members,  will  serve  to  increase,  not  their  happi 
ness,  but  their  misery.  Merit  or  demerit  is  ascribed  not  to  the 
members,  but  to  the  person  to  whose  body  they  are  united  :  to 
those,  therefore,  who  shall  have  done  penance,  they  shall  be 
restored  as  sources  of  reward ;  and  to  those  who  shall  have  con 
temned  it,  as  instruments  of  punishment.  If  the  pastor  bestow 
mature  consideration  on  these  things,  he  can  never  want  words 
or  ideas  to  move  the  hearts  of  the  faithful,  and  enkindle  in  them 
the  flame  of  piety ;  that,  considering  the  troubles  of  this  life, 
they  may  look  forward,  with  eager  expectation,  to  that  blessed 
glory  of  the  resurrection  which  awaits  the  just. 

The  bodies  It  now  remains  to  explain  to  the  faithful,  in  an  intelligible 
of  the  good  manner,  how  the  body,  when  raised  from  the  dead,  although 
had  shall6  substantially  the  same,  shall  be  different  in  many  respects.  To 
rise  immor-  omit  other  points,  the  great  difference  between  the  state  of  all 
tal  bodies  when  risen  from  the  dead,  and  what  they  had  previously 

been,  is,  that,  before  the  resurrection,  they  were  subject  to  dis 
solution  ;  but,  when  reanimated,  they  shall  all,  without  distinc- 
This,  the      tion  of  good  and  bad,  be  invested  with  immortality.     This  ad- 
result  of     niirable  restoration  of  nature  is  the  result  of  the  glorious  victory 
ofChrSt7  °f  Christ  over  death  ;  as  it  is  written,  "  He  shall   cast  death 
over  death,  down   headlong  for  ever;"1  and,    "  O  Death  !   I   will  be   thy 
death  ;"a  words  which   the  Apostle   thus  explains,    "  and  the 
enemy  death  shall  be  destroyed  last;"3  and  St.  John,  also,  says, 
"  Death  shall  be  no  more."4      There  is  a  peculiar  congruity  in 
the  superiority  of  the  merits  of  Christ,  by  which  the  power  of 
death  is  overthrown,5  to  the  fatal  effects  of  the  sin  of  Adam ; 
and,  it  is  consonant  to  the  divine  justice,  that  the  good  enjoy 
endless  felicity;  whilst  the  wicked,  condemned  to  everlasting 
torments,  "  shall  seek  death,  and  shall  not  find  it ;  shall  desire 
to  die,  and  death  shall  fly  from  them."8    Immortality,  therefore, 
will  be  common  to  the  good  and  to  the  bad. 

The  qua-  Moreover,  the  bodies  of  the  saints  when  resuscitated,  shall  be 
lities  of  a  distinguished  by  certain  transcendant  endowments,  which  will 
ennoble  them  far  beyond  their  former  condition.  Amongst  these 
endowments,  four  are  specially  mentioned  by  the  Fathers,  Avhich 
they  infer  from  the  doctrine  of  St.  Paul,  and  which  are  called 
"  qualities."7 

Impassi-  The  first  is  "  impassibility,"  which  shall  place  them  beyond 
the  reach  of  pain  or  inconvenience  of  any  sort.  Neither  the 
piercing  severity  of  cold,  nor  the  glowing  intensity  of  heat  can 
affect  them,  nor  can  the  impetuosity  of  waters  hurt  them.  "  It 
is  sown,"  says  the  Apostle,  "in  corruption,  it  shall  rise  in  incor- 
ruption."8  This  quality,  the  schoolmen  call  impassibility,  no; 
incorruption :  in  order  to  distinguish  it  as  a  property  peculiar  to 

i  Isa.  xxv.  8.  2  Osee  xiii.  14.  3  1  Cor.  TV.  26.  4  Apoc.  ri.  4. 

6  Heb.  ii.  14.  6  Apoc.  ix.  6.  7  De  his  Aug.  Serm.  99.  de  temp.  Ambr. 

in  com.  in  1.  ad  Cor.  c.  15.  "  1  Cor.  xv.  42. 

On  the  eleventh  article  of  the  Creed.  91 

a  glorified  body.  The  bodies  of  the  damned,  though  incorrupti 
ble,  shall  not  be  impassible  :  they  shall  be  capable  of  expe 
riencing  heat  and  cold,  and  of  feeling  pain. 

The  next  quality  is  "  brightness,"  by  which  the  bodies  of  the  Brightness, 
saints  shall  shine  like  the  sun  ;  according  to  the  words  of  our 
Lord  recorded  in  the  Gospel  of  St.  Matthew:  "The  just  shall 
shine  as  the  sun,  in  the  kingdom  of  their  Father."1  To  remove 
the  possibility  of  doubt  on  the  subject,  he  left  us  a  splendid  ^ex 
emplification  of  this  glorious  quality  in  his  transfiguration.2  This 
quality  the  Apostle  sometimes  calls  glory,  sometimes  brightness  ; 
"  He  will  reform  the  body  of  our  lowness,  made  like  to  the 
body  of  his  glory  :"3  and  again,  "  It  is  sown  in  dishonour,  it 
shall  rise  in  glory."4  Of  this  glory  the  Israelites  beheld  some 
image  in  the  desert ;  when  the  face  of  Moses,  after  he  had  been 
in  the  presence  of,  and  had  conversed  with  God,  shone  with 
such  resplendent  lustre  that  they  could  not  look  on  it.5  This 
brightness  is  a  sort  of  refulgence  reflected  from  the  supreme 
happiness  of  the  soul — an  emanation  of  the  bliss  which  it  en 
joys,  and  which  beams  through  the  body.  Its  communication 
is  analogous  to  the  manner  in  which  the  soul  itself  is  rendered 
happy,  by  a  participation  of  the  happiness  of  God.  Unlike  the 
former,  this  quality  is  not  common  to  all  in  the  same  degree. 
All  the  bodies  of  the  saints  shall,  it  is  true,  be  equally  impassi 
ble  :  but  the  brightness  of  all  shall  not  be  the  same :  for,  ac 
cording  to  the  Apostle ;  "  One  is  the  glory  of  the  sun,  another 
the  glory  of  the  moon,  and  another  the  glory  of  the  stars,  for 
star  difl'ereth  from  star  in  glory  :  so  also,  is  the  resurrection  of 
the  dead."6 

To  this  quality  is  united  that  of  "  agility,"  as  it  is  called,  by  Agility, 
which  the  body  shall  be  freed  from  the  burden  that  now  presses 
it  down ;  and  shall  require  a  capability  of  moving  with  the  ut 
most  facility  and  celerity,  wherever  the  soul  pleases,  as  St.  Au 
gustine  teaches  in  his  book  on  the  City  of  God,7  and  St.  Jerome 
on  Isaias.8  Hence  these  words  of  the  Apostle  ;  "It  is  sown 
in  weakness,  it  shall  rise  in  power."9 

Another  quality  is  that  of  "  subtilty  ;"  a  quality  which  sub-  Subtilty 
jects  the  body  to  the  absolute  dominion  of  the  soul,  and  to  an 
entire  obedience  to  her  control :  as  we  infer  from  these  words 
of  the  Apostle  ;  "It  is  sown  a  natural  body,  it  shall  rise  a 
spiritual  body."10  These  are  the  principal  points  on  which  the 
pastor  will  dwell  in  the  exposition  of  this  Article. 

But  in  order  that  the  faithful  may  know  what  fruit  they  are  ^van- 
to  reap  from  a  knowledge  of  so  many  and  such  exalted  mys-  d^pmed- 
teries ;  the  pastor  will  proclaim,  in  the  first  place,  that  to  God,  tation  on 
who  has  hidden  these  things  from  the  wise,  and  made  them 
known  to  little  ones,  we  owe  a  debt  of  boundless  gratitude! 
How  many  men,  eminent  for  wisdom  and  learning,  who  never 

i  Matt.  xiii.  43.          2  Matt.  xvii.  2.  3  Philip,  iii.  21.  <  1  Cor.  xv.  43. 

5  Exod.  xxxiv.  29.    2  Cor.  iii.  7.  <=  l  Cor.  xv.  41,  42.          '  Aug.  de  Civ.  Dei, 
lib.  xiii.  c.  18.  20.  et  lib.  xxii.  c.  11.  «  Hieron.  in  Isaiara,  cap.  40. 

9  1  Cor.  xv.  43.  10 1  Cor.  xv.  44 

92  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

arrived  at  a  knowledge  of  this  truth  ?    Aware,  then,  of  his  spe 
cial  predilection  towards  us,  in  making  known  to  us  this  sublime 
truth — to  us  who  could  never  aspire  to  such  knowledge — it  be 
comes  our  duty  to  pour  forth  our  gratitude  in  unceasing  praises 
of  his  goodness  and  clemency. 

II.  Another  important  advantage  to  be  derived  from  deep  reflec 
tion  on  this  Article  is,  that  in  it  we  shall  experience  a  balm,  to 
heal  the  wounded  spirit,  when  we  mourn  the  loss  of  those  who 
were  endeared  to   us  by  friendship  or  connected  with  us  by 
blood ;  a  balm  which  the  Apostle  himself  administered  to  the 
Thessalonians  when  writing  to  them  "concerning  those  Avho 

III.  But  in  all  our  afflictions  and  calamities,  the  thought  of  a  fu 
ture  resurrection  must  bring  relief  to  the  troubled  heart ;  as  we 
learn  from  the  example  of  Job,  who  supported  himself  under 
an  accumulation  of  afflictions  and  of  sorrows,  solely  by  the 
hope  of,  one  day,  rising  from  the  grave,  and  beholding  the  Lord 
his  God.3 

IV.  It  must  also,  prove  a  powerful  incentive  to  the  faithful  to  use 
every  exertion  to  lead  lives  of  rectitude  and  integrity,  unsullied 
by  the  defilement  of  sin ;  for,  if  they  reflect,  that  those  riches 
of  inconceivable  value,  which  God  will  bestow  on  his  faithful 
servants  after  the  resurrection,  are  now  proposed  to  them  as 
rewards ;  they  must  find  in  the  reflection  the  strongest  induce- 

V  ment  to  lead  virtuous  and  holy  lives.  On  the  other  hand,  no 
thing  will  have  greater  effect  in  subduing  the  passions,  and 
withdrawing  souls  from  sin,  than  frequently  to  remind  the  sin 
ner  of  the  miseries  and  torments  with  which  the  justice  of  God 
will  visit  the  reprobate,  who,  on  the  last  day,  shall  rise  to  the 
resurrection  of  judgment.3 



Why  the  THE  wisdom  of  the  Apostles,  our  guides  in  religion,  suggested 
last  Article  to  tnem  the  propriety  of  giving  this  Article  the  last  place  in 
Creed.  the  Creed,  which  is  the  summary  of  our  faith ;  first,  because, 
after  the  resurrection  of  the  body,  the  only  object  of  the  Chris 
tian's  hope,  is  the  reward  of  everlasting  life ;  and  secondly,  in 
order  that  perfect  happiness,  embracing  as  it  does,  the  fulness 
of  all  good,  may  be  ever  present  to  our  minds,  and  absorb  all 
our  thoughts  and  affections.  In  his  instructions  to  the  faithful, 
the  pastor,  therefore,  will  unceasingly  endeavour  to  light  up  in 
their  souls,  an  ardent  desire  of  the  proposed  rewards  of  eternal 
life ;  that  thus  they  may  look  upon  whatever  difficulties  they 

i  1  Thess.  i v.  1 3.  2  Job  xix.  26.  John  v.  29. 

On  the  twelfth  article  of  the  Creed.  93 

may  experience  in  the  practice  of  religion,  as  light,  and  even 
agreeable,  and  may  yield  a  more  willing  and  an  entire  obedi 
ence  to  God. 

But  as  many  mysteries  lie  concealed  under  the  words,  which  its  mean 
are  here  used,  to  declare  the  happiness  reserved  for  us  ;  they  ms- 
are  to  be  explained  in  such  a  manner  as  to  make  them  intelli 
gible  to  all,  as  far  as  their  respective  capacities  will  allow.  The 
faithful,  therefore,  are  to  be  informed,  that  the  words,  "life 
everlasting,"  signify  not  only  that  continuity  of  existence,  to 
which  the  devils  and  the  wicked  are  consigned,  but  also,  that 
perpetuity  of  happiness  which  is  to  satisfy  the  desires  of  the 
blessed.  In  this  sense  they  were  understood  by  the  "  ruler," 
mentioned  in  the  Gospel,  when  he  asked  the  Redeemer : 
"  Lord!  what  shall  I  do  to  possess  everlasting  life?"1  As  if  he 
had  said,  what  shall  I  do,  in  order  to  arrive  at  the  enjoyment 
of  everlasting  happiness  ?  In  this  sense  they  are  understood  in 
the  Sacred  Volumes,  as  is  clear  from  a  reference  to  many  pas 
sages  of  Scripture.3  The  supreme  happiness  of  the  blessed  is 
thus  designated,  principally  to  exclude  the  notion  that  it  con 
sists  in  corporeal  and  transitory  things,  which  cannot  be  ever 

The  word  "blessedness"  is  insufficient  to  express  the  idea,  Why  call- 
particularly  as  there  have  not  been  wanting  men,  who,  inflated  ed  "fe 
with  the  vain  opinions  of  a  false  philosophy,  would  place  the  f,^r ' 
supreme  good  in  sensible  things  ;  but  these  grow  old  and  perish,, 
whilst  supreme  happiness  is  defined  by  no  limits  of  time.  Nay, 
more,  so  far  is  the  enjoyment  of  the  goods  of  this  life  from 
conferring  real  happiness,  that,  on  the  contrary,  he  who  is  cap 
tivated  by  a  love  of  the  world,  is  farthest  removed  from  true 
happiness :  for  it  is  written :  "  Love  not  the  world,  nor  the 
things  that  are  in  the  world;  if  any  one  love  the  world,  the 
love  of  the  Father  is  not  in  him  :"4  and  a  little  after,  "  The 
world  passeth  away  and  the  concupiscence  thereof."5  The 
pastor,  therefore,  will  be  careful  to  impress  these  truths  on  the 
minds  of  the  faithful,  that  they  may  learn  to  despise  earthly 
things,  and  to  know  that,  in  this  world,  in  which  we  are  not 
citizens,  but  sojourners,8  happiness  is  not  to  be  found.  Yet, 
even  here  below,  we  may  be  said,  with  truth,  to  be  happy  in 
hope ;  "  if  denying  ungodliness  and  worldly  desires,  we  live 
soberly,  and  justly,  and  godly  in  this  world ;  looking  for  the 
blessed  hope  and  coming  of  the  great  God,  and  our  Saviour 
Jesus  Christ."?  Many  "who  seemed  to  themselves  wise,"8 
not  understanding  these  things,  and  imagining  that  happiness 
was  to  be  sought  in  this  life,  became  fools  and  the  victims  of 
the  most  deplorable  calamities. 

These  words,  "Life  everlasting,"  also  teach  us  that,  contrary  True  hap- 
to  the  false  notions  of  some,  happiness  once  attained  can  never 

1  Luke  xviii.  18.  2  Matt.  six.  29 ;  xxv.  46.    Rom.  vi.  22. 

3  Aug.  de  Civ.  Dei,  lib.  19.  c.  11.  <  Uohn  ii.  15.  5  i  John  ii.  17. 

«  1  Pet.  ii.  11.  7  Tit.  ii.  11.  13.  »  Rom.  i.  22. 

94  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

must  be  be  lost.  Happiness  is  an  accumulation  of  good  without  admix 
everlast-  ture  of  evj^  wnich,  as  it  fills  up  the  measure  of  man's  desires, 
must  be  eternal.  He  who  is  blessed  with  its  enjoyment  must 
earnestly  desire  its  continuance,  and,  were  it  transient  and  un 
certain,  should  necessarily  experience  the  torture  of  continual 

The  happi-       The  intensity  of  the  happiness  which  the  just  enjoy  in  their 
ness  of  the   ceiestial  country,  and  its  utter  incomprehensibility  to  all  but  to 

lust, intense    ,  ,    J  <v    •      ^  i   i_      A.  j 

and  incom-  themselves  alone,  are  sufficiently  conveyed  by  the  very  words 
prehensi-  which  are  here  used  to  express  that  happiness.  When,  to  ex 
press  any  idea,  we  make  use  of  a  word  common  to  many  others, 
we  do  so,  because  we  have  no  proper  term  by  which  to  express 
it  clearly  and  fully.  When,  therefore,  to  express  happiness,  we 
adopt  words  which  are  equally  applicable  to  all  who  are  to  live 
for  ever,  as  to  the  blessed ;  we  are  led  to  infer  that  the  idea  pre 
sents  to  the  mind  something  too  great,  too  exalted,  to  be  ex 
pressed  fully  by  a  proper  term.  True,  the  happiness  of  heaven 
is  expressed  in  Scripture  by  a  variety  of  other  words,  such  as, 
the  "Kingdom  of  God,"3  "  of  Christ,"3  "  of  heaven,"4  "  Para 
dise,"5  "the  Holy  City,"  "the  New  Jerusalem,"6  "my  Fa 
ther's  house  ;"7  yet  it  is  clear  that  none  of  these  appellations  is 
sufficient  to  convey  an  adequate  idea  of  its  greatness, 
a  powerful  The  pastor,  therefore,  will  not  neglect  the  opportunity  which 
incentive  fa[s  Article  affords,  of  inviting  the  faithful  to  the  practice  of 
piety,  of  justice,  and  of  all  the  other  virtues,  by  holding  out  to 
them  such  ample  rewards  as  are  announced  in  the  words  "  life 
everlasting."  Amongst  the  blessings  which  we  instinctively 
desire,  life  is,  confessedly,  esteemed  one  of  the  greatest :  by  it 
principally,  when  we  say  "  life  everlasting,"  do  we  express  the 
happiness  of  the  just.  If  then,  during  this  short  and  chequered 
period  of  our  existence,  which  is  subject  to  so  many  and  such 
various  vicissitudes,  that  it  may  be  called  death  rather  than  life, 
there  is  nothing  to  which  we  so  fondly  cling,  nothing  which  we 
love  so  dearly  as  life ;  with  what  ardour  of  soul,  with  what 
earnestness  of  purpose,  should  we  not  seek  that  eternal  happi 
ness,  which,  without  alloy  of  any  sort,  presents  to  us  the  pure 
and  unmixed  enjoyment  of  every  good?  The  happiness  of 
eternal  life  is,  as  defined  by  the  Fathers,  "  an  exemption  from 
all  evil,  and  an  enjoyment  of  all  good."8  That  it  is  an  exemp 
tion  from  all  evil,  the  Scriptures  declare  in  the  most  explicit 
terms  :  "  they  shall  no  more  hunger  and  thirst,"  says  St.  John, 
"  neither  shall  the  sun  fall  on  them,  nor  any  heat  ;"9  and  again, 
"  God  shall  wipe  away  all  tears  from  their  eyes  :  and  death  shall 
be  no  more,  nor  mourning,  nor  crying,  nor  sorrow,  shall  be  any 
more,  for  the  former  things  are  passed  away."10  But  the  glory  of 

>  Vid.  Aug.  de  Civ.  Dei,  lib.  12.  cap.  20.  lib.  22.  c.  29,  &  30.  de  libero  arbit,  cap. 
25.  de  verb.  Domini,  serm.  64,  &  serm.  37,  de  Sanctis. 

SActsxiv.  22.  3  2  Pet.  i.  11.  «  Matt  y.  3.  20. 

6  Luke  xxiii.  43.  6  Apoc.  xxi.  10.  7  John  xiv.  2. 

s  Chrysost.  in  30.  cap.  ad  Thood.  lapsum.  Aug.  de  Civ.  Dei,  lib.  22.  cap.  30. 
AnsHm.  ujiist  2.  et  de  similit.  c.  47.  et  seq. 

9  Apoc.  vii.  16.  I0  Apoc.  xxi.  4. 

On  the  twelfth  article  of  the  Creed.  95 

the  blessed  shall  be  without  measure,  and  their  solid  joys  and 
pleasures  without  number.  The  mind  is  incapable  of  compre 
hending  or  conceiving  the  greatness  of  this  glory  :  it  can  be 
known  only  by  its  fruition,  that  is,  by  entering  into  the  joy  of 
the  Lord,  and  thus  satisfying  fully  the  desires  of  the  human  heart. 
Although,  as  St.  Augustine  observes,  it  would  seem  easier  to 
enumerate  the  evils  from  which  we  shall  be  exempt,  than  the 
goods  and  the  pleasures  which  we  shall  enjoy;1  yet  we  must 
endeavour  to  explain,  briefly  and  clearly,  these  things  which  are 
calculated  to  inflame  the  faithful  with  a  desire  of  arriving  at  the 
enjoyment  of  this  supreme  felicity. 

Before  we  proceed  to  this  explanation,  we  shall  make  use  of  a  Happiness 
distinction,   which  has  been   sanctioned  by  the  most  eminent  j^^f 

writers  on  religion  ;  it  is,  that  there  are  two  sorts  of  goods,  one  and  acces- 
an  ingredient,  another  an  accompaniment  of  happiness.  The  ^T- 
former,  therefore,  for  the  sake  of  perspicuity,  they  have  called 
essential  ;  the  latter,  accessory.  Solid  happiness,  which  we 
may  designate  by  the  common  appellation,  "  essential,"  con 
sists  in  the  vision  of  God,  and  the  enjoyment  of  his  eternal 
beauty  who  is  the  source  and  principle  of  all  goodness  and  per 
fection  :  "  This,"  says  our  Lord,  "  is  eternal  life,  that  they  may 
know  thee,  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  whom  thou 
hast  sent."3  These  sentiments  St.  John  seems  to  interpret,  when 
he  says  ;  "  Dearly  beloved  !  We  are  now  the  sons  of  God  ; 
and  it  hath  not  yet  appeared  what  we  shall  be.  We  know  that 
when  he  shall  appear,  we  shall  be  like  to  him  :  because  we 
shall  see  him,  as  he  is."3  These  words  inform  us  that  the  hap 
piness  of  heaven  consists  of  two  things  :  to  see  God  such  as  he 
is  in  his  own  nature  and  substance,  and  to  be  made  like  unto 

Those  who  enjoy  the  beatific  vision,  whilst  they  retain  their  Effect  of 
own  nature,  shall  assume  a  certain  admirable  and  almost  divine  t}?e.  beatifio 
form,  so  as  to  seem  gods  rather  than  men  ;  and  why  they  as-  th'eblesiled 
sume  this  form,  becomes  at  once  intelligible,  if  we  only  reflect 
that  every  thing  is  known  from  its  essence,  or  from  its  resem 
blance  and  external  appearance  :  but  as  nothing  resembles  God,  How  com- 
so  as  to  afford,  by  that  resemblance,  a  perfect  knowledge  of 
him,  no  creature  can  behold  his  divine  nature  and  essence,  un 
less  admitted  by  the  Deity  to  a  sort  of  union  with  himself;  ac 
cording  to  these  words  of  St.  Paul  :  "  We  now  see  through  a 
glass  in  a  dark  manner,  but  then  face  to  face."4  The  words,  "in 
a  dark  manner,"  St.  Augustine  understands  to  mean  that  we 
see  him  in  a  resemblance  calculated  to  convey  to  us  some  faint 
notion  of^  the  Deity.5     This,  St.  Denis  clearly  shows,  when  he 
says  :  "  The  things  above  cannot  be  known  by  comparison  with 
the  things  below  ;  for,  the  essence  and  substance  of  any  thing 
incorporeal  must  be  known,  through  the  medium  of  that  which 
is  corporeal  :  particularly  as  a  resemblance  must  be  less  gross 

1  Serm.  vi.  4.  de  verb.  Domini  et  de  Symb  ad  Catech.  lib.  3.      2  John  xvii.  3. 
1  1  John  iii.  •»  1  Cor.  xiii.  12.  »  Aug.  lib.  15.  de  Civ.  Dei,  c.  9. 

96  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

and  more  spiritual,  than  that  which  it  represents,  as  we  know, 
from  universal  experience.  Since,  therefore,  we  can  find  no 
thing  created,  equally  pure  and  spiritual  with  God,  no  resem 
blance  can  enable  us,  perfectly  to  comprehend  the  divine  es 
sence."1  Moreover,  all  created  things  are  circumscribed  within 
certain  limits  of  perfection  ;  but  God  is  circumscribed  by  no 
limits,  and  therefore  nothing  created  can  reflect  his  immensity. 
The  only  means,  therefore,  of  arriving  at  a  knowledge  of  the 
divine  essence,  is  that  God  unite  himself  in  some  sort  to  us  ; 
and  after  an  incomprehensible  manner,  elevate  our  minds  to  a 
higher  degree  of  perfection,  and  thus  render  us  capable  of  con 
templating  the  beauty  of  his  nature.  This  the  light  of  his  glory 
will  accomplish :  illumined  by  its  splendour,  we  shall  see  God, 
the  true  light,  in  his  own  light.3  The  blessed  always  see  God 
present,  and  by  this  greatest  and  most  exalted  of  gifts,  "  being 
made  partakers  of  the  divine  nature,"3  they  enjoy  true  and  solid 
happiness.  Our  belief  of  this  truth  should  therefore  be  animated 
by  an  assured  hope  of  one  day  arriving,  through  the  divine 
goodness,  at  the  same  happy  term  ;  according  to  these  words 
of  the  Nicene  Creed :  "  I  expect  the  resurrection  of  the  dead, 
and  the  life  of  the  world  to  come."  These  are  divine  truths 
which  defy  the  powers  of  human  language,  and  mock  the  limits 
Anillustra-  of  human  comprehension.  We  may,  however,  trace  some  re- 
tion  of  this  semblance  of  this  happy  change  in  sensible  objects,  for  as  iron, 
when  acted  on  by  fire,  becomes  ignited,  and,  whilst  it  is  sub 
stantially  the  same,  seems  changed  into  fire,  which  is  a  different 
substance ;  so  the  blessed,  who  are  admitted  into  the  glory  of 
heaven,  and  who  burn  with  a  love  of  God,  although  they  cease 
not  to  be  the  same,  are  yet  affected  in  such  a  manner,  as  that 
they  may  be  said  with  truth  to  differ  more  from  the  inhabitants 
of  this  earth,  than  iron,  when  ignited,  differs  from  itself  when 

In  whates-  To  say  all  in  a  few  words  :  supreme  and  absolute  happiness, 
sentialhap-  which  we  call  essential,  consists  in  the  possession  of  God ;  for 
m'Jts.88  ™"  wnat  can  he  want  to  consummate  his  happiness,  who  possesses 

God,  the  fountain  of  all  good,  the  fulness  of  all  perfection  ? 
The  acces-       To  this  happiness,  however,  are  appended  certain  gifts  which 
sories  of      are  common  to  all  the  blessed,  and  which,  because  more  within 
''    the  reach  of  human  comprehension,  are  generally  found  more 
effectual  in  exciting  the  mind  and  inflaming  the  heart.4     These 
the  Apostle  seems  to  have  in  view,  when,  in  his  epistle  to  the 
Romans,  he  says :  "  Glory,  and  honour,  and  peace,  to  every 
one  that  worketh  good."5     The  blessed  shall  enjoy  glory,  not 
only  that  glory  which  we  have  already  shown  to  constitute  es 
sential  happiness,  or  to  be  its  inseparable  accompaniment ;  but 
also  that  glory  which  consists  in  the  clear  and  comprehensive 
knowledge,  which  each  of  the  blessed  shall  have  of  the  singu 
lar  and  exalted  dignity  of  his  companions  in  glory. 

.  divin.nom.  c.l.  JPs.xxxv.  10.  3  2  Pet.  i.  4. 

4  Aug.  de  Civ.  Dei,  lib.  xxii.  c.  30.  5  Rom.  n.  10. 

On  the  twelfth  article  of  the  Creed.  97 

But  how  distinguished  must  not  that  honour  be  which  is  con-  The  first. 
ferred  by  God  himself,  who  no  longer  calls  them  servants,  but 
friends,1  brethren,3  and  sons  of  God  !3     Hence  the  Redeemer 
will   address  his  elect  in  these  words,  which  at  once  breathe 
infinite  love,  and  bespeak   the   highest  honour :    "  Come,   ye 
blessed  of  my  Father,  possess  you  the  kingdom  prepared  for 
you."4   Justly,  then,  may  we  exclaim  with  the  psalmist :  "  Thy 
friends,  O  God  !  are  made  exceedingly  honourable."5  They  shall 
also  receive  the  highest  praise  from  Christ  the  Lord,  in  presence  of 
his  Heavenly  Father,  and  before  the  assembled  hosts  of  heaven. 
And,  if  nature  has  interwoven  in  the  human  heart,  the  desire  of  These- 
honour,  particularly  when  conferred  by  men  eminent  for  wis-  cond- 
dom,  who  are,  therefore,  the   most  authoritative  vouchers  of 
merit ;  what  an  accession  of  glory  to  the  blessed,  to  evince  to 
wards  each  other  the  highest  veneration  ? 

To  enumerate  all  the  delights  with  which  the  souls  of  the  The  third 
blessed  shall  be  inebriated,  would  be  an  endless  task :  we  can 
not  even  conceive  them  in  idea :  with  this  truth,  however,  the 
minds  of  the  faithful  should  be  deeply  impressed,  that  the  hap 
piness  of  the  saints  is  full  to  overflowing,  of  all  those  pleasures 
which  can  be  enjoyed  or  even  desired  in  this  life,  whether  they 
regard  the  powers  of  the  mind  or  the  perfection  of  the  body :  a 
consummation  more  exalted  in  the  manner  of  its  accomplish 
ment,  than,  to  use  the  words  of  the  Apostle,  "  eye  hath  seen, 
ear  heard,  or  the  heart  of  man  conceived."6— The  body,  which  The  fourth, 
was  before  gross  and  material,  having  put  off  mortality,  and  now 
refined  and  spiritualized,  shall  no  longer  stand  in  need  of  corpo 
ral  nutriment :  whilst  the  soul  shall  be  satiated  with  that  eternal  The  fiflh. 
food  of  glory,  which  the  master  of  that  great  feast  will  minister, 
in  person,  to  all.7     Who  will  desire  rich  apparel  or  royal  robes,  The  sixth, 
when;  these  appendages  of  human  grandeur  shall  be  superse 
ded  ;  and  all  shall  be  clothed  with  immortality  and  splendour, 
and  adorned  with  a  crown  of  imperishable  glory !    And,  if  the  The  se- 
possession  of  a  spacious  and  magnificent  mansion  forms  an  in-  venth 
gradient  in  human  happiness,  what  more  spacious,  what  more 
magnificent,    can    imagination   picture,    than    the   mansion    of 
heaven,  illumined,  as  it  is  throughout,  with  the  blaze  of  glory 
which  encircles  the  Godhead  !     Hence,  the  prophet,  contem 
plating  the  beauty  of  this  dwelling-place,  and  burning  with  the 

sire  of  reaching  those  mansions  of  bliss,  exclaims  :  "  How 
lovely  are  thy  tabernacles,  O  Lord  of  hosts  !  my  soul  longeth 
and  famteth  for  the  courts  of  the  Lord :  my  heart  and  my  flesh 
have  rejoiced  in  the  living  God."*  That  the  faithful  may  be  all 
tilled  with  the  same  sentiments,  and  utter  the  same  language, 
should  be  the  object  of  the  pastor's  most  earnest  desires  ;  as  it 
should  be  of  his  zealous  labours.  "  In  my  Father's  house," 
says  our  Lord,  "  there  are  many  mansions,"9  in  which  shall  be 
distributed  rewards  of  greater  and  of  less  value,  according  to 

'John  xv.  14.         2Matt.xii.49.          3  Rom.  viii.  15  16.         *  Matt.  xxv.  34. 
*  Ps.  cxxxvm.  17    61  Cor.  u.  9.  7Lukexii.37.  » ft.  lnxiii  1  8. 

9  John  xiv.  2. 

9  N 

98  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

each  one's  deserts  :  for  "  He  who  soweth  sparingly,  shall  reap 
sparingly  :  and  he  who  soweth  in  blessings,  shall  also  reap  of 

How  to  ar-       The  pastor,  therefore,  will  not  only  move  the  faithful  to  a  de 
rive  at  the   sire  Of  arriving  at  this   happiness  ;  but  will  frequently  remind 
o"JthwTa£  them  tnat>  infallibly  to   attain  it,  they  must  possess  the  virtues 
piness.        of  faith  and   charity ;   they  must  persevere  in  the  exercise  of 
prayer,  and  the  salutary  use  of  the  sacraments,  and  in  a  faithful 
discharge   of  all  the  good  offices  which  spring  from  fraternal 
charity.     Thus,  through  the  mercy  of  God,  who  has  prepared 
that  blessed  glory  for  those  who  serve  him,  shall  be  one   day 
fulfilled  the  words  of  the  prophet :  "  My  people  shall  sit  in  the 
beauty  of  peace,   and  in  the  tabernacles  of  confidence  and  of 
wealthy  rest."3 

i  2  Cor.  ix.  6.  2  laaias  xxxii.  18 







IF  the  exposition  of  every  part  of  the  doctrines  of  Christianity  A  know- 
demands  knowledge  and  assiduity  on  the  part  of  the  pastor,  that  ledg|ofthe 
of  the  Sacraments,  which,  by  the  ordinance  of  God,  are  a  ne-  menfeTpar-" 
cessary  means  of  salvation,  and  a  plenteous  source  of  spiritual  ticularly 
advantage,  demands,  in  a  special  manner,  the  application  of  his  necessar>'- 
combined  talents  and  industry.1    Thus,  by  accurate  and  frequent 
instruction,   shall  the  faithful  be  enabled  to  approach  worthily 
and  with  salutary  effect,  these  inestimable  and  most  holy  insti 
tutions  ;  and  the  pastor  will  not  depart  from  the  rule  laid  down 
in  the  divine  prohibition  :  "  Give  not  that  which  is  holy  to'dogs  : 
neither  cast  ye  your  pearls  before  swine."3 

As  then  we  are  about  to  treat  of  the  Sacraments  in  general,  Different 
it  is  proper  to  begin,  in  the  first  place,  by  explaining  the  force  meanings 
and  meaning  of  the  word  "  Sacrament,"  and  removing  all  am-  «  ga^! 
biguity  as  to  its  signification,  in  order  the  more  easily  to  com-  merit." 
prehend  the  sense  in  which  it  is  here  used.    The  faithful,  there 
fore,  are  to  be  informed  that  the  word  Sacrament  is  differently 
understood  by  sacred  and  profane  writers  ;  and  to  point  out  its 
different  acceptations  will  be  found  pertinent  to  our  present  pur 
pose.      By  some  it  has  been  used  to  express  the  obligation         i. 
which  arises  from  an  oath,  pledging  to  the  performance  of  some 
service  ;  and  hence,  the  oath  by  which  soldiers  promise  mili 
tary  service  to  the  state,  has  been  called  a  military  Sacrament. 
Amongst  profane  writers,  this  seems  to  have  been  the  most  01- 
dinary  meaning  of  the  word.      But,  by  the  Latin  Fathers,  who        II 
have  written  on  theological  subjects,  the  word  Sacrament  is  used 
to  signify  a  sacred  thing  which  lies  concealed.     The  Greeks, 
to  express  the  same  idea,  made  use  of  the  word  "  Mystery." 
This,  we  understand  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  word,  when,  in 

i  Vii.  Concil.  Trid.  Sess.  17.  2  Matt  vii. 



a  word  of 
ancient  ec 

100  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  epistle  to  the  Ephesians,  it  is  said :  "  that  he  might  make 
known  to  us  the  mystery  (sacramentum)  of  his  will  ;"*  and  to 
Timothy,  "great  is  the  mystery  (sacramentum)  of  godliness  ;"a 
and  in  the  book  of  Wisdom :  "  They  knew  not  the  secrets 
(sacramenta)  of  God.3  In  these  and  many  other  passages  the 
word  Sacrament,  it  will  be  perceived,  signifies  nothing  more 
III.  than  a  holy  thing  that  lies  concealed.  Tne  Latin  Fathers, 
therefore,  deemed  the  word  no  inappropriate  term  to  express  a 
sensible  sign,  which  at  once,  communicates  grace  to  the  soul  ot 
the  receiver,  and  declares,  and,  as  it  were,  places  before  the  eyes 
the  grace  which  it  communicates.  St.  Gregory,  however,  is  of 
opinion  that  it  is  called  a  Sacrament,  because  through  its  instru 
mentality,  the  divine  power  secretly  operates  our  salvation, 
under  the  veil  of  sensible  things.4 

Let  it  not,  however,  be  supposed  that  the  word  Sacrament  is 
of  recent  ecclesiastical  usage.  Whoever  peruses  the  writings 
of  S.  S.  Jerome,5  and  Augustine,6  will  at  once  perceive,  that 
ancient  ecclesiastical  writers  made  frequent  use  of  the  word 
"  Sacrament,"  and  sometimes  also  of  the  word  "  symbol,"  or 
"  mystical  or  sacred  sign,"  to  designate  that  of  which  we  here 
speak.  Thus  much  will  suffice  in  explanation  of  the  word 
Sacrament :  and  indeed,  what  we  have  said  applies  equally  to 
the  Sacraments  of  the  old  law :  but  superseded,  as  they  have 
been,  by  the  gospel  law  and  grace,  instruction  regarding  them 
were  superfluous. 

Besides  the  meaning  of  the  word,  which  alone  has  hitherto 
engaged  our  attention,  the  nature  and  efficacy  of  that  which  it 
expresses  demand  our  particular  inquiry  ;  and  the  faithful  must 
be  taught  what  constitutes  a  Sacrament.  That  the  Sacraments 
are  amongst  the  means  of  attaining  righteousness  and  salvation, 
cannot  be  questioned  :  but  of  the  many  definitions,  each  of  them 
sufficiently  appropriate,  which  may  serve  to  explain  the  nature 
of  a  Sacrament,  there  is  none  more  comprehensive,  none  more 
perspicuous,  than  that  of  St.  Augustine :  a  definition  which  has 
since  been  adopted  by  all  scholastic  writers  :  "  A  Sacrament," 
says  he,  "  is  a  sign  of  a  sacred  thing ;"  or  in  other  words  of  the 
same  import;  "A  Sacrament  is  a  visible  sign  of  an  invisible 
grace,  instituted  for  our  justification."7 

Definition  The  more  fully  to  develope  this  definition,  the  pastor  will 
explained.  explain  it  in  all  its  parts.  He  will  first  observe,  that  sensible 
objects  are  of  two  sorts :  some  invented  as  signs,  others  not  ^in 
vented  as  signs,  but  existing  absolutely  and  in  themselves.  To 
the  latter  class,  almost  every  object  in  nature  may  be  said  to  be 
long;  to  the  former,  spoken  and  written  languages,  military 
standards,  images,  trumpets,  and  a  multiplicity  of  other  things 
of  the  same  sort,  too  numerous  to  be  mentioned.  Thus,  with 
regard  to  words ;  take  away  their  power  of  expressing  ideas, 

i  Eph.  i.  9.  21  Tim.  iii.  16.  3  Wisd.  ii.  22.  4  D.  Greg,  in  1.  Reg.  cap.  16. 
vers.  13.  5  vid.  Hieron.  in  Amos,  c.  1,  v.  i.  &  Iren.  c.  i.  v.  15. 

6  Aug.  in  Joan.  Tract.  80.  in  fine,  et  contra  Faust,  lib.  19.  c.  11.  Cypr.  epist.  15,  et 
l.h  de  bapt.  Christ.  '.  D.  Aug.  lib.  10.  de  Civ.  Dei,  c.  5.  &  epist.  2. 

ofa  Sacra 

On  the  Sacraments.  101 

ancj  you  seem  to  take  aAvay  the  only  reason  for  their  invention. 
They  are,  therefore,  properly  called  signs  :  for,  according  to  St. 
Augustine,  a  sign,  besides  Avhat  it  presents  to  the  senses,  is  a 
medium  through  Avhich  Ave  arrive  at  the  knoAvledge  of  something 
else  :  from  a  footstep,  for  instance,  \vhich  we  see  traced  on  the 
ground,  AVC  instantly  infer  that  some  one  Avhose  footstep  appears 
has  passed.1 

A  Sacrament,  therefore,  is  clearly  to  be  numbered  amongst  A  Sacra- 
those  things  Avhich  have  been  instituted  as  signs :  it  makes  ™™  ^°v" 
known  to  us  by  external  resemblance,  that  which  God,  by  his  »a  sign." 
invisible  power,  accomplishes  in  our  souls.2  To  illustrate  \vhat 
Ave  have  said  by  an  example  ;  baptism,  for  instance,  Avhich  is 
administered  by  external  ablution,  accompanied  Avith  certain 
solemn  Avords,  signifies  that  by  the  poAver  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  all 
the  interior  stains  and  defilements  of  sin  are  Avashed  away,  and 
that  the  soul  is  enriched  and  adorned  Avith  the  admirable  gift  of 
heavenly  justification  ;  whilst,  at  the  same  time,  the  baptismal 
ablution,  as  AVC  shall  hereafter  explain  in  its  proper  place,  ac 
complishes  in  the  soul,  that  of  Avhich  it  is  externally  significant. 
That  a  Sacrament  is  to  be  numbered  amongst  signs  is  clearly 
inferred  from  Scripture.  Speaking  of  circumcision,  a  Sacrament 
of  the  old  laAV  which  Avas  given  to  Abraham,  the  father  of  all 
believers,3  the  Apostle,  in  his  epistle  to  the  Corinthians,  says  ; 
"  and  he  received  the  sign  of  circumcision,  a  seal  of  the  justice 
of  the  faith' Avhich  he  had;"4  and  in  another  place  ;  "  All  Ave," 
says  he,  "  Avho  are  baptized  in  Christ  Jesus,  are  baptized  in  his 
death:"5  Avords  which  justify  the  inference  that  baptism  signi 
fies,  to  use  the  Avords  of  the  same  Apostle,  that  "  we  are  buried 
together  with  him  by  baptism  into  death."8  To  know  that  the 
Sacraments  are  signs,  is  important  to  the  faithful.  This  knoAV- 
ledge  Avill  lead  them  more  readily  to  believe,  that  what  they 
signify,  contain,  and  effectuate,  is  holy  and  august ;  and  recog 
nising  their  sanctity,  they  Avill  be  more  disposed  to  venerate  and 
adore  the  beneficence  of  God  displayed  toAvards  us  in  their  in 

We  noAv  come  to  explain  the  Avords,  "  sacred  thing,"  Avhich  Also,  -  a 
constitute  the  second  part  of  the  definition.     To  render  this  ex-  s£cre{!, 
planation   satisfactory  we  must  enter  somewhat  more  minutely  * 
into  the  accurate  and  acute  reasoning  of  St.  Augustine  on  the 
variety  of  signs.7 

Of  signs  some  are  called  natural,  Avhich  besides  making  them-  Of  signs, 
selves  known  to  us,  also  convey  a  knowledge  of  something  else  ;  some  are 
an  effect,  as  we  have  already  said,  common  to  all  signs.  Smoke,  m 
for  instance,  is  a  natural  sign  from  which  Ave  immediately  infer 
the  existence  of  fire.     It  is  called  a  natural  sign,  because  it  im 
plies  the  existence  of  fire,  not  by  arbitrary  institution,  but  by  its 

1  Aug.  lib.  2.  de  doct.  Christ,  c.  1. 

2  Aug.  de  doct.  Christ,  lib.  3.  c.  9.  et  epist.  23.  et  de  Catch,  erud.  c.  26.  potest 
videri  Tertul.  de  resur.  carnis.  c.  8.  et  Greg,  in  1.  Reg.  lib.  6.  c.  3.  post  init. 

3  Gen.  xvii.  10.  4  Rom.  iv.  11.  5  Rom.  vi.  3.  6  Rom.  vi.  4 

7  Lib.  1.  de  doctr.  Christ,  c.  1. 


some  con- 

Signs  in- 
tituted  by 


and  effi- 

of  the  ° 


A  fuller 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

intimate  connexion  with  that  element  :  when  smoke  appears  we 
are  at  once  convinced  of  the  existence  of  latent  fire.1 

Other  signs  are  not  natural,  but  conventional,  invented  and 
instituted  by  men  to  enable  them  to  commune  one  with  another, 
mutually  to  convey  their  sentiments  and  communicate  their 
counsels.  The  variety  and  multiplicity  of  such  signs  may  be 
inferred  from  the  circumstance,  that  some  belong  to  the  eyes, 
some  to  the  ears,  some  to  each  of  the  other  senses.  When  we 
intimate  any  thing  by  a  sensible  sign,  for  instance,  by  removing 
a  military  standard,  it  is  obvious  that  such  intimation  can  reach 
us  only  through  the  medium  of  the  eyes  ;  and  it  is  equally  ob 
vious  that  the  sound  of  the  trumpet,  of  the  lute,  and  of  the  lyre, 
instruments  which  are  not  only  sources  of  pleasure,  but  fre 
quently  signs  of  ideas,  is  addressed  to  the  ear.  Through  the  lat 
ter  sense,  are  also  conveyed  words,  which  are  the  best  medium 
of  communicating  our  inmost  thoughts. 

Besides  those  signs  of  which  we  have  hitherto  spoken,  and 
wnich  are  conventional  ;  there  are  others,  and  confessedly  of 
more  sorts  than  one,  which  are  of  divine  appointment.  Some 
were  instituted  by  God,  solely  to  indicate  something,  or  recall 
*ts  reco^ect-i°n  :  suc^  were  the  purifications  of  the  law,  the 
showbread,  and  many  other  things  which  belonged  to  the  Mo- 
sajc  WOrship  ;3  others  not  only  to  signify,  but,  also,  to  accom 
plish  what  they  signify.  Among  the  latter,  are  manifestly  to  be 
numbered  the  Sacraments  of  the  New  Law.  They  are  signs 
instituted  by  God,  not  invented  by  man,  which  we  believe,  with 
an  unhesitating  faith,  to  carry  with  them  that  sacred  efficacy  of 
which  they  are  the  signs.  Having,  therefore,  shown  that  signs 
present  a  variety  of  appearances  ;  the  "  sacred  thing"  which 
they  contain,  must  also  exist  under  a  variety  of  forms. 

With  regard  to  the  proposed  definition  of  a  Sacrament,  divines 
prove,  that  by  the  words  "sacred  thing,"  is  to  be  understood 
tne  Srace  °^  ^od,  which  sanctifies  the  soul  and  adorns  it  with 
every  virtue  ;  and  of  this  grace  they  consider  the  words 
"  sacred  thing,"  an  appropriate  appellation,  because  by  its  salu 
tary  influence  the  soul  is  consecrated  and  united  to  God. 

In  order,  therefore,  to  explain  more  fully  the  nature  of  a  Sa- 
crament,  the  pastor  will  teach  that  it  is  a  thing  subject  to  the 
senses  ;  and,  possessing  by  divine  institution,  at  once  the  power 
of  signifying  sanctity  and  justice,  and  of  imparting  both  to  the 
receiver.  Hence,  it  is  easy  to  perceive,  that  the  images  of  the 
saints,  crosses,  and  the  like,  although  signs  of  sacred  things, 
cannot  be  called  Sacraments.  That  such  is  the  nature  of  a  Sa 
crament  is  easily  proved  by  applying  to  each  of  the  Sacraments 
what  has  been  already  said  of  baptism,  viz.  that  the  solemn  ab 
lution  of  the  body  not  only  signifies,  but  has  power  to  effect  a 
sacred  thing  which  is  wrought  in  the  soul  by  the  invisible  ope 
ration  ot'  the  Holy  Ghost. 

1  Aug.  de  doct.  Christ,  lib.  2.  c.  1.  et  seq. 

'  Aug.  de  doct.  Christ,  lib.  3.  c.  9.     Exod.  xii.  15.    Concil.  Trid.  Sess.  7.  de  Saci 

On  the  Sacraments.  103 

It  is  also  pre-eminently,  the  property  of  these  mystical  signs,  Every  Sa- 
instituted  by  Almighty  God,  to  signify,  by  divine  appointment,  gf^jfpg 
more  than  one  thing,  and  this  applies  to  all  the  Sacraments.  All  three 
declare  not  only  our  sanctity  and  justification,  but  also  two  thinfis 
other  things  most  intimately  connected  with  both — the  passion 
of  our  Lord,  which  is  the  source  of  our  sanctification,  and  eternal 
life  to  which,  as  to  its  end,  our  sanctification  should  be  referred. 
Such,  then,  being  the  nature  of  all  the  Sacraments,  the  doctors 
of  the  Church  justly  hold,  that  each  of  them  has  a  threefold 
significancy  ;  reminding  us  of  something  passed,  indicating 
something  present,  foretelling  something  future.  When  we  say 
that  this  is  an  opinion,  held  by  the  Doctors  of  the  Church,  let 
it  not  be  imagined  that  it  is  unsupported  by  Scriptural  authority. 
When  the  Apostle  says :  "  All  we  who  are  baptized  in  Christ 
Jesus,  are  baptized  in  his  death  ;"*  he  gives  us  clearly  to  un 
derstand  that  baptism  is  called  a  sign,  because  it  reminds  us 
of  the  death  and  passion  of  our  Lord.  When  he  says  :  "  We 
are  buried  together  with  him  by  baptism  into  death,  that  as 
Christ  is  risen  from  the  dead  by  the  glory  of  the  Father,  so,  we 
also,  may  walk  in  newness  of  life  ;"a  he  also  clearly  shows, 
that  baptism  is  a  sign  which  indicates  the  infusion  of  divine 
grace  into  the  soul,  enables  us  by  its  efficacy  to  form  our  lives 
anew,  and  renders  the  performance  of  all  the  duties  of  true 
piety  at  once  easy  and  inviting.  Finally,  when  he  adds  :  "If 
we  have  been  planted  together  in  the  likeness  of  his  death,  we 
shall  be  also  in  the  likeness  of  his  resurrection  ;"3  he  teaches 
that  baptism  gives  no  obscure  intimation  of  eternal  life  also, 
which  we  are  to  reach  through  its  efficacy. 

Besides  the  different  significations  already  evolved,  the  Sa-  A  Sacra- 
craments  also  not  unfrequently  indicate  and  mark  the  presence  "mes^pnT 
of  more  than  one  thing.     The  holy  Eucharist,  for  instance,  at  fiesthepre 
once  signifies  the  presence  of  the  real  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  sence°f 
and  the  grace  which  it  imparts  to  the  worthy  receiver.     What 
has  been  said,  therefore,  cannot  fail  to  supply  the  pastor  with 
arguments  to  prove,  how  much  the  power  of  God  is  displayed — 
how  many  hidden  miracles  are  contained  in  the  Sacraments ; 
that  thus  all  may  know  and  feel  their  obligation  to  reverence 
them  with  the  most  profound  veneration,  and  to  receive  them 
with  the  most  ardent  devotion. 

But,  of  all  the  means  employed  to  make  known  the  proper  The  Sacra 
use  of  the  Sacraments,  there  is  none  more  effectual  than  a  care-  ments,why 
ful  exposition  of  the  reasons  of  their  institution.  Amongst  these  F 
reasons,  for  there  are  many,  the  first  is  the  imbecility  of  the 
human  mind :  we  are  so  constituted  by  nature,  that  no  one  can 
aspire  to  mental  and  intellectual  knowledge,  unless  through  the 
medium  of  sensible  objects.  Impelled,  therefore,  by  his  good 
ness  towards  us,  and  guided  by  his  wisdom,  the  Sovereign  Creator 
of  the  universe,  in  order  to  bring  the  mysterious  effects  of  his 
divine  power  more  immediately  within  the  sphere  of  our  com- 

1  Rom.  vi.  3  2  Rom-  vi.  4  3  Rom.  v;.  5 

104  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

prehension,  has  ordained  that  it  should  be  manifested  to  us, 
through  the  intervention  of  certain  sensible  signs.  As  St.  Chry- 
sostom  happily  expresses  it:  "  If  man  were  not  clothed  with  a 
material  body,  these  good  things  would  have  been  presented  to 
him  unveiled  by  sensible  forms  ;  but,  as  he  is  composed  of  body 
and  soul,  it  was  absolutely  necessary  to  employ  sensible  signs, 
in  order  to  assist  in  making  them  understood."1 

Second.  Another  reason  is,  because  the  mind  yields  a  reluctant  assent 

to  promises  ;  and  hence,  God,  from  the  beginning  of  the  world, 
very  frequently,  and  in  express  terms  points  our  attention  to  the 
promises  which  he  had  made ;  and  when  designing  to  execute 
something,  the  magnitude  of  which  might  weaken  a  belief  in  its 
accomplishment,  he  confirms  his  promise  by  signs,  which  some 
times  appear  miraculous.  When,  for  instance,  God  sends  Moses 
to  deliver  the  people  of  Israel ;  and  Moses  commissioned  as 
he  was  by  God,  and  shielded  by  his  protecting  arm,  still  hesi 
tates,  fearing  his  incompetency  to  the  task  imposed  on  him,  or  the 
incredulous  rejection  of  the  divine  oracles  on  the  part  of  the 
people,  the  Almighty  confirms  his  promise  by  many  signs.3 
As,  then,  in  the  old  law,  God  ordained  that  every  important 
promise  should  be  confirmed  by  certain  signs  ;  so,  in  the  new, 
our  divine  Redeemer,  when  he  promises  pardon  of  sin,  divine 
grace,  the  communication  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  has  instituted  cer 
tain  sensible  signs  which  are  so  many  pledges  of  the  inviolability 
of  his  word — pledges  which  we  are  well  assured  he  will  not  fai7 
to  redeem.3 

Third.  A  third  reason  is,  that  the  Sacraments  bring,  to  use  the  words 

of  St.  Ambrose,  the  healing  remedies  and  medicines,  as  it  were, 
of  the  Samaritan  mentioned  in  the  Gospel.  God  wishes  us  to 
have  recourse  to  them  in  order  to  preserve  or  recover  the  health  of 
the  soul  ;4  for,  through  the  Sacraments  as  through  its  proper  chan 
nel,  should  flow  into  the  soul  the  efficacy  of  the  passion  of  Christ, 
that  is  the  grace  which  he  purchased  for  us  on  the  altar  of  the 
cross,  and  without  which  we  cannot  hope  for  salvation.  Hence, 
our  most  merciful  Redeemer  has  bequeathed  to  his  Church, 
Sacraments  stamped  with  the  sanction  of  his  word,  and  sealed 
with  the  security  of  his  promise,  through  which,  provided  we 
make  pious  and  devout  use  of  these  sovereign  remedies,  we 
firmly  believe  that  the  fruit  of  his  passion  is  really  conveyed  to 
our  souls. 

Fourth.  A  fourth  reason  why  the  institution  of  the  Sacraments  may 

seem  necessary  is,  that  there  may  be  certain  marks  and  symbols 
to  distinguish  the  faithful ;  particularly  as,  to  use  the  words  of 
St.  Augustine,  "  no  society  of  men,  professing  a  true  or  a  false 
religion,  can,  as  it  were,  be  incorporated,  unless  united  and  held 
together  by  some  federal  bond  of  sensible  signs."5  Both  these 
objects,  the  Sacraments  of  the  new  law  accomplish  ;  distinguish- 

'Chrys.  hom.83.  in  Matt.  &  horn.  60.  ad  Pop.  Antioch.  =»  Exod.  iii.  10, 11. 

Ibid  iv.  2.  3  Aug.  lib.  4.  de  baplis.  contra  Donatist.  cap.  24.  *  Ambr.  lib.  5.  de 
Sacr.  c.  4.  5  p.  Aug.  lib.  19.  contra  Faust,  c.  1 1  &  de  vera  rel.  c  17.  Basil,  in 
exh.  ad  bapt. 

On  the  Sacraments.  105 

ing  the  Christian  from  the  infidel,  and  connecting  the  faithjul  by 
a  sort  of  sacred  bond. 

Again,  the  Apostle  says  :  "  With  the  heart  we  believe  unto  Fifth 
justice  ;  but  with  the  mouth  confession  is  made  unto  salva 
tion."1  These  words,  also,  afford  another  very  just  reason  for 
the  institution  of  the  Sacraments — by  approaching  them,  we 
make  a  public  profession  of  our  faith  in  the  face  of  all  men. 
Thus,  when  we  stand  before  the  baptismal  font,  we  openly  pro 
fess  our  belief  in  its  efficacy,  and  declare  that,  by  virtue  of  its 
salutary  waters,  in  which  we  are  washed,  the  soul  is  spiritually 
cleansed  and  regenerated.  The  Sacraments  have  also  great  in 
fluence,  not  only  in  exciting  and  exercising  our  faith,  but  also 
in  inflaming  that  charity  with  which  we  should  love  one  ano 
ther  ;  recollecting  that,  by  participating  of  these  mysteries  in 
common,  we  are  knit  together  in  the  closest  bonds  of  union,  and 
are  made  members  of  one  body. 

Finally,  and  the  consideration  is  of  the  highest  importance  Sixth, 
in  the  study  of  Christian  piety,  the  Sacraments  repress  and  sub 
due  the  pride  of  the  human  heart,  and  exercise  the  Christian  in 
the  practice  of  humility,  by  obliging  him  to  a  subjection  to  sen 
sible  elements ;  that  thus,  in  atonement  for  his  criminal  defec 
tions  from  God  to  serve  the  elements  of  this  world,  he  may  yield 
to  the  Almighty  the  tribute  of  his  obedience.  These  are  princi 
pally  what  appeared  to  us  necessary  for  the  instruction  of  the 
faithful,  in  the  name,  nature,  and  institution  of  a  Sacrament. 
When  they  shall  have  been  accurately  Expounded  by  the  pastor, 
his  next  duty  will  be  to  explain  the  constituent  parts  of  each 
Sacrament,  and  the  rites  and  ceremonies  used  in  its  adminis 

In  the  first  place,  then,  the  pastor  will   inform  the  faithful,  Every  Su- 
that  the   "  sensible  thing"  which  enters  into  the  definition  of  a  crament 

0  i        j         •  i  i          i  i  •          consists  of 

Sacrament  as  already  given,  although  constituting  but  one  sign,  matter  and 
is  of  a  twofold  nature  :  every  Sacrament  consists  of  two  things  ;  form 
"  matter,"  which  is  called  the  element,  and  "  form,"  which  is 
commonly  called  "  the  word."  This  is  the  doctrine  of  the 
Fathers  of  the  Church,  upon  which  the  testimony  of  St  Augus 
tine  is  familiar  to  all  :  "  The  word,"  says  he,  "  is  joined  to  the 
element,  and  it  becoires  a  Sacrament."3  By  the  words  "  sen 
sible  thing,"  therefore,  the  Fathers  understand  not  only  the  mat 
ter  or  element,  water  in  baptism,  chrism  in  confirmation, 
and  oil  in  extreme-unction,  all  of  which  fall  under  the  eye  ;  but 
also  the  words  which  constitute  the  form,  and  which  are  ad 
dressed  to  the  ear.  are  clearly  pointed  out  by  the  Apostle, 
when  he  says  :  "  Christ  loved  the.  Church,  and  delivered  him 
self  up  for  it,  that  he  might  sanctify  it,  cleansing  it  by  the  laver 
of  water  in  the  word  of  life."3  Here  the  matter  and  form  of  the 
Sacrament  are  expressly  mentioned.  But  in  order  to  explain, 
more  fully  and  clearly,  the  particular  efficacy  of  each,  the  words 
which  compose  the  form  were  to  be  added  to  the  matter  ;  for 

1  Rom.  x.  10  2  Aug.  in  Joan.tract.  80.  3  £ph.  v.  25 


106  TJie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

of  all  signs,  words  are  evidently  the  most  significant,  and  with 
out  them  it  would  be  difficult  to  comprehend  what  the  matter  of 
the  Sacraments  may  designate  and  declare.     Water,  for  instance, 
has  the  quality  of  cooling  as  well  as  of  cleansing,  and  may  be 
symbolic  of  either.  In  baptism,  therefore,  unless  the  words  were 
added,  it  might  be  matter  of  conjecture,  of  certainty  it  could  not, 
which  was  signified ;  but  when  the  words  which  compose  the 
form  are  added,  we  are  no  longer  at  a  loss  to  understand,  that 
baptism  possesses  and  signifies  the  power  of  cleansing.1 
The  Sacra-       In  this,  the  Sacraments  of  the  New  Law  excel  those  of  the 
merits  of      QJ^  ^^  faere  was  no  definite  form,  known  to  us,  of  adminis- 
Law,  excel  tering  those  of  the  Old,  a  circumstance   which  rendered  them 
those  of      uncertain  and  obscure,  whilst,  in  those  of  the  new,  the  form  is 
1116  Old'       so  definite,  that  any,  even  a  casual,  deviation  from  it  renders  the 
Sacrament  null ;  and  it  is   therefore  expressed  in  the  clearest 
terms,  and  such  as  exclude  the  possibility    of  doubt.     These 
then  are  the  parts  which  belong  to  the  nature  and  substance  of 
the   Sacraments,  and  of  which  every  Sacrament  is  necessarily 

Sacraments  To  these  are  added  certain  ceremonies,  which  although  not 
administer-  to  be  omitted  without  sin,  unless  in  case  of  necessity,  yet,  if  at 
mincere-'"  an7  time  omitted,  because  not  essential  to  its  existence,  do  not 
monies;  invalidate  the  Sacrament.  It  is  not  without  good  reason,  that 
and  why.  the  administration  of  the  Sacraments  has  been,  at  all  times,  from 
the  earliest  ages  of  the  Church,  accompanied  with  certain  solemn 
First  rea-  ceremonies.  There  is,  in  the  first  place,  an  obvious  propriety 
son-  in  manifesting  such  a  religious  reverence  to  the  sacred  myste 

ries,  as  to  appear  to  handle  holy  things  holily.  These  ceremo- 
Second-  nies  also  serve  to  display  more  fully,  and  place  as  it  were  be 
fore  our  eyes,  the  effects  of  the  Sacraments,  and  to  impress 
more  deeply  on  the  minds  of  the  faithful  the  sanctity  of  thes< 
T^ird  sacred  institutions.  They  also  elevate  to  sublime  contemplation 
the  minds  of  those  who  behold  them  with  respectful  and  reli 
gious  attention  ;  and  excite  within  them  the  virtues  of  faith  and 
of  charity.  To  enable  the  faithful  therefore  to  know,  and  un 
derstand  clearly,  the  meaning  of  the  ceremonies  made  use  of  in 
the  administration  of  each  Sacrament,  should  be  an  object  of 
special  care  and  attention  to  the  pastor. 

Number  of       We  now  come  to  explain  the  number  of  the  Sacraments  ;  a 

the  Sacra-    knowledge  of  which  is  attended   with  this  .advantage,  that  the 

fTtoV186"  greater  the  number  of  supernatural  aids  to  salvation  which  the 

known.        faithful  shall  understand  to  have  been  provided  by  the  divine 

goodness,  the  more  ardent  the  piety  with  which  they  will  direct 

all  the  powers  of  their  souls  to  praise  and  proclaim  the  singular 

beneficence  of  God. 

Theicnum-       The  Sacraments  then  of  the  Catholic  Church  are  seven,  as 

ber,  seven.    js  proved  from  Scripture,  from  the  unbroken  tradition  of  the 

Fathers,  and  from  the  authoritative  definitions  of  councils.3  Why 

'  Aug.  de  doct.  Christi,  lib.  ii.  c.  3.  2  Trid.  sess.  7.  2an 

1  fie  sac.  in  gen.  Cone.  Flo.  in  dec.  ad  Arm.  D.  Th.  p.  3.  q.  63.  art.  1 

On  the  Sacraments.  107 

they  are  neither  more  nor  less,  may  be  shown,  at  least  with  Explained 
some  degree  of  probability,  even  from  the  analogy  that  exists  by  anal°sy- 
between  natural  and  spiritual  life.     In  order  to  exist,  to  preserve 
existence,  and  to  contribute  to  his  own  and  to  the  public  good, 
seven  things  seem  necessary  to  man — to  be  born — to  grow — to 
be  nurtured — to  be  cured  when  sick — when  weak  to  be  strength 
ened — as  far  as  regards  the  public  weal,  to  have  magistrates  in 
vested  with  authority  to  govern — and,  finally,  to  perpetuate  him 
self  and  his  species  by  legitimate  offspring.  Analogous  then  as  all 
these  things  obviously  are,  to  that  life  by  which  the  soul  lives 
to  God,  we  discover  in  them  a  reason  to  account  for  the  number 
of  the  Sacraments.     Amongst  them,  the  first  is  Baptism,  the  Baptism, 
gate,  as  it  were,  to  all  the  other  Sacraments,  by  which  we  are 
born  again  to  Christ.     The  next  is  Confirmation,  by  which  we  Confirma- 
grow  up,  and  are  strengthened  in  the  grace  of  God  :  for,  as  St.  tion- 
Augustine  observes,    "to   the  Apostles  who   have  already  re 
ceived  baptism,  the  Redeemer  said :  '  stay  you  in  the  city  till 
you  be  indued  with  power  from  on  high.'  "*     The  third  is  the  Eucharist. 
Eucharist,  that  true  bread  from  heaven  which  nourishes  our 
souls  to   eternal  life,  according  to  these  words  of  the  Saviour ; 
"  My  flesh  is   meat  indeed,  and  my  blood  is  drink  indeed."3 
The  fourth  is  Penance,  by  which  the  soul,  which  has  caught  Penance, 
the  contagion  of  sin,  is  restored  to  spiritual  health.  The  fifth  is  Extreme- 
Extreme  Unction,  which  obliterates  the  traces  of  sin,  and  invi-  Unction, 
gorates  the  powers  of  the  soul ;  of  which  St.  James  says  :  "  if 
Jie  be  in  sins,  they  shall  be  forgiven  him."3     The  sixth  is  Holy  Holy  Or- 
Orders,  which  gives  power  to  perpetuate    in  the  Church  the  ders- 
public  administration  of  the  Sacraments,  and  the  exercise  of  all 
the  sacred  functions  of  the  ministry.4     The  seventh  and  last  is  Matri- 
Matrimony,  a  Sacrament  instituted  for  the  legitimate  and  holy  mony- 
union  of  man  and  woman,  for  the  conservation  of  the  human 
race,  and  the  education  of  children,  in  the  knowledge  of  reli 
gion,  and  the  love  and  fear  of  God. 

All  and  each  of  the  Sacraments,  it  is  true,  possess  an  admira-  All  the  Sa 
ble  efficacy  given  them  by  God :  but  it  is  well  worthy  of  re-  craments 
mark,  that  all  are  not  of  equal  necessity  or  of  equal  dignity,  nor  is  ™l  equally 
the  signification  of  all  the  same..    Amongst  them  three  are  of  " 
paramount  necessity,  a  necessity,  however,  which  arises  from 
different  causes.      The  universal  and  absolute  necessity  of  bap 
tism,  these  words  of  the  Redeemer  unequivocally  declare : — 
"  Unless  a  man  be  born  again  of  water  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  he 
cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God."5     The  necessity  of  Pe 
nance  is  relative  :  Penance  is  necessary  for  those  only  who  have 
stained  their  baptismal  innocence,  by  mortal  guilt :  without  sin 
cere  repentance,  their  eternal  ruin  is  inevitable.     Orders,  too, 
although  not  necessary  to  each  of  the  faithful,,  are  of  absolute 
general  necessity  to  the  Church.8     But,  the  dignity  of  the  Sa- 

1  D.  Aug.  ep.  1  "3.  et  Luke  xxiv.  49.  2Johnvi.  55.  3  James  v.  15. 

4  Luke  v.  11.        5  John  iii.  5          6  Trid.  1.  Sess.  7,  can.  3,  4.    de  feutr.  in  germ. 
D.  Tli.  p.  3.  q.  05.  art.  4. 


The  Eu 
charist  ex 
cels  all  the 
others  in 

Christ,  the 
author  of 
the  Sncra- 

Men,  their 

The  un- 
of  the  mi 
nister  does 
not  affect 
the  validity 
of 'the  Sa- 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

craments  considered,  the  Eucharist,  for  holiness,  and  for  the 
number  and  greatness  of  its  mysteries,  is  eminently  superior  to 
all  the  rest.  These,  however,  are  matters  which  will  be  more 
easily  understood,  when  we  come  to  explain,  in  its  proper  place, 
what  regards  each  of  the  Sacraments.1 

We  come,  in  the  next  place,  to  ask  from  whom  we  have  re 
ceived  these  sacred  and  divine  mysteries  :  any  boon,  however 
excellent  in  itself,  receives  no  doubt  an  increased  value  and 
dignity  from  him  by  whose  bounty  it  is  bestowed.  The  ques 
tion,  however,  is  not  one  of  difficult  solution  :  justification  comes 
from  God;  the  Sacraments  are  the  wonderful  instruments  of 
justification ;  one,  and  the  same  God  in  Christ,  must,  therefore, 
be  the  author  of  justification,  and  of  the  Sacraments.3  The  Sacra 
ments,  moreover,  contain  a  power  and  efficacy  which  reach  the 
inmost  recesses  of  the  soul ;  and  as  God  alone  has  power  to 
enter  into  the  sanctuary  of  the  heart,  he  alone,  through  Christ, 
is  manifestly  the  author  of  the  Sacraments.  That  they  are  in 
teriorly  dispensed  by  him,  is  also  matter  of  faith  ;  according  to 
these  words  of  St.  John :  "  He  who  sent  me  to  baptize  with 
water,  said  to  me ;  he  upon  whom  them  shalt  see  the  Spirit  de 
scending,  and  remaining  upon  him,  he  it  is  that  baptizeth  with 
the  Holy  Ghost,"3 

But  God,  although  the  author  and  dispenser  of  the  Sacra 
ments,  would  have  them  administered  in  his  Church  by  men, 
not  by  angels  :  and  to  constitute  a  Sacrament,  as  constant  tra 
dition  testifies,  matter  and  form  are  not  more  necessary  than  is 
the  ministry  of  men. 

But,  representing  as  he  does,  in  the  discharge  of  his  sacred 
functions,  not  his  own,  but  the  person  of  Christ,  the  minister  of 
the  Sacraments,  be  he  good  or  bad,  validly  consecrates  and  con 
fers  the  Sacraments  ;  provided  he  make  use  of  the  matter  and 
form  instituted  by  Christ,  and  always  observed  in  the  Catholic 
Church,  and  intends  to  do  what  the  Church  does  in  their  ad 
ministration.  Unless,  therefore,  Christians  will  deprive  them 
selves  of  so  great  a  good,  and  resist  the  Holy  Ghost,  nothing 
can  prevent  them  from  receiving,  through  the  Sacraments,  the 
fruit  of  grace.4  That  this  was,  at  all  times,  a  fixed  and  well  de 
fined  doctrine  of  the  Church,  is  established  beyond  all  doubt  by 
St.  Augustine,  in  his  disputations  against  the  Donatists  ;5  and 
should  we  desire  Scriptural  proof  also,  we  have  it  in  the  words 
of  St.  Paul ;  "  I  have  planted,  Apollo  watered  ;  but  God  gave 
the  increase."8  Neither  he  that  plants,  therefore,  nor  he  that 
waters,  is  any  thing,  but  God  who  gives  "  the  increase."  As, 
therefore,  in  planting  trees,  the  vices  of  the  planter  do  not  im 
pede  the  growth  of  the  vine,  so,  and  the  comparison  is  suffi- 

1  Dionys.  lib.  de  Eccles.  Hier.  c.  3. 

2  Ambr.  lib.  4.  de  Sacr.  cap.  6.  D.  Tho.  p.  3.  q.  62.  Trid.  Sess.  7.  can.  1  de  Sacr. 
in  gen.  lib.  de  Eccles.  dog.  &  Cassian.  collat.  7.  18.  3  John  i  33. 

4  Trid.  Sess.  7.  de  Sac.  in  gen.  c.  11  &  12.  Greg.  JNaz.  in  Oral,  in  S.  bapt.  Ambr 
de  hisqui  myst.  init.  cap.  5.  Chrysost.  horn.  8.  in  1  Cor. 

s  A  i§.  contra  Crescen.  lib.  4.  c.  20.  contra  Dpnat.  lib.  1.  c.  4.  &  lib.  2.  contra 
lit  P.-til.  c.  47.  6  I  Cor.  iii.  6. 

On  the  Sacraments.  109 

eiently  intelligible,  those  who  were  planted  in  Christ  by  the 
ministry  of  bad  men,  sustain  no  injury  from  guilt  which  is  not 
their  own.  Judas  Iscariot,  as  the  Holy  Fathers  infer  from  the 
Gospel  of  St.  John,1  Conferred  baptism  on  many  ;  and  yet  none 
of  those  whom  he  baptized  are  recorded  to  have  been  baptized 
again.  To  use  the  memorable  words  of  St.  Augustine  :  "  Judas 
baptized,  and  yet  after  him  none  were  rebaptized  :  John  bap 
tized,  and  after  John  they  were  rebaptized,  because  the  baptism 
administered  by  Judas  was  the  baptism  of  Christ,  but  that  ad 
ministered  by  John  was  the  baptism  of  John  :3  not  that  we 
prefer  Judas  to  John,  but  that  we  justly  prefer  the  baptism  of 
Christ,  although  administered  by  Judas,  to  the  baptism  of  John 
although  administered  by  the  hands  of  John."3 

But,  let  not  the  pastor,  or  other  minister  of  the  Sacraments,  To  admi- 
hence  infer  thj.t  he  fully  acquits  himself  of  his  duty,  if,  disre-  g^a-11*6 
garding  integrity  of  life  and  purity  of  morals,  he  attend  only  to  merits  in 
the  administration  of  the  Sacraments  in  the  manner  prescribed.  sfat?  of 
True,  the  manner  of  administering  them  is  a  matter  of  the  high-  grievous 
est  importance  ;  but  it  is  no  less  true,  that  it  does  not  constitute  crime 
all  that  enters  into  the  worthy  discharge  of  this  duty.    It  should 
never  be  forgotten,  that  the  Sacraments,  although  they  cannot 
lose  the  divine  efficacy  inherent  in  them,  bring  eternal  death  and 
everlasting  perdition  on  him  who  dares  to  administer  them  with 
hands  stained  with  the  defilement  of  sin.     Holy  things,  and  the 
observation  cannot  be  too    often  repeated,   should    be   treated 
holily,  and  with  due  reverence  :4     "  To  the  sinner,"  says  the 
prophet,   "God  has  said:  why  dost  thou  declare  my  justices, 
and  take  my  covenant  in  thy  mouth,  seeing  that  thou  hast  hated 
discipline  ?"5     If  then,  for  him  who  is  defiled  by  sin  it  is  unlaw 
ful  to  speak  on  divine  things,  how  enormous  the  guilt  of  that 
man,  who,  with   conscious  guilt,  dreads  not  to  consecrate  with 
polluted  lips  these  holy  mysteries — to  take  them — to  touch  them 
— nay  more,   with  sacrilegious  hands,  to  administer  them    to 
others  ?B     The   symbols,   (so  he   calls    the    Sacraments)   "  the 
wicked,"  says  St.   Denis,    "  are   not  allowed  to   touch."7     It 
therefore  becomes   the  first,   the   most  important  duty   of  the 
minister  of  these  holy  things,  to  aspire  to  holiness  of  life,  to  ap 
proach  with  purity  the  administration  of  the  Sacraments,  and  so 
to  exercise  himself  in  the  practice  of  piety,  that,  from  their  fre 
quent  administration  and  use,  they  may  every  day  receive,  with 
the  divine  assistance,  a  more  abundant  effusion  of  grace. 

When  these    important  matters   have   been    explained,    the  T!"j>  e^cls 
effects  of  the  Sacraments  present  to  the  pastor  the  next  subject  cramenti. 
of  instruction ;  a  subject,  it  is  hoped,  which  will  throw  consi 
derable  light  on  the  definition  of  a  Sacrament  as  already  given. 

The  principal  effects  of  the  Sacraments  are  two ;  sanctifying  Justifying 
grace,  and  the  character  which  they  impress.     The  former,  that  gra( 
is,  the   grace  which  we,  in  common  with  the   doctors  of  the 

1  John  iv.  2.  2  Ac's  xix.  3 — 5.  3  Aug.  in  Joan. 

4  Aug.  in  Joan,  tract.  5.  &  contra  Cresc.  lib.  3.  c.  6.  D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  93.  art.  4. 

5  Ps.  xlix.  16.  6  Cone.  Trid.  can.  6.  1  S.  Dion,  de  Eccl.  Hier  c.  1. 


110  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Church,  call  sanctifying  grace,  deservedly  holds  the  first  place 
That  this  is  an  effect  produced  by  the  Sacraments,  we  know 
from  these  words  of  the  Apostle  :  "  Christ,"  says  he,  "  loved 
the  Church,  and  delivered  himself  up  for  it ;  that  he  might  sanc 
tify  it,  cleansing  it  by  the  laver  of  water  in  the  word  of  life."1  * 
But  how  so  great  and  so  admirable  an  effect  is  produced  by  the 
Sacraments,  that,  to  use  the  words  of  St.  Augustine,  "water 
cleanses  the  body,  and  reaches  the  heart  :"a  this,  indeed,  the 
mind  of  man,  aided  by  the  light  of  reason  alone,  is  unequal  to 
comprehend.  It  ought  to  be  an  established  law,  that  nothing 
sensible  can,  of  its  own  nature,  reach  the  soul ;  but  we  know 
by  the  light  of  faith,  that  in  the  Sacraments  exists  the  power  of 
the  Omnipotent,  effectuating  that  which  the  natural  elements 
cannot  of  themselves  accomplish.3 

The  grace  That  on  this  subject  no  doubt  may  exist  in  the  minds  of  the 
of  the  Sa-  faithful,  God,  in  the  abundance  of  his  mercy,  was  pleased,  from 
why!ofol'd,  the  moment  of  their  institution,  to  manifest  by  exterior  mira- 
prpved  by '  cles,  the  effects  which  they  operate  interiorly  in  the  soul :  this 
miracles,  j^  ^j^  m  or(jer  tjiat  we  may  always  believe  that  the  same  in 
terior  effects,  although  inaccessible  to  the  senses,  are  still  pro 
duced  by  them.  To  say  nothing  of  that  which  the  Scripture  re 
cords — that,  at  the  baptism  of  the  Redeemer  in  the  Jordan,  "  The 
heavens  were  opened,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  appeared  in  the  form 
of  a  dove  ;"*  to  teach  us,  that  when  we  are  washed  in  the  sa 
cred  font,  his  grace  is  infused  into  our  souls — to  omit  these 
splendid  miracles  which  have  reference  rather  to  the  consecra 
tion  of  baptism,  than  to  the  administration  of  the  Sacraments- 
do  we  not  read,  that  on  the  day  of  Pentecost,  when  the  Apos 
tles  received  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  were,  thenceforward,  inspired 
with  greater  courage  and  firmer  resolution  to  preach  the  faith, 
and  brave  danger  of  every  sort  for  the  glory  of  Christ,  "  there 
came  suddenly  a  sound  from  heaven,  as  of  a  mighty  wind  com 
ing,  and  it  filled  the  whole  house  where  they  were  sitting,  and 
there  appeared  to  them  parted  tongues,  as  it  were  of  fire."5 
These  visible  effects  give  us  to  understand  that,  in  the  Sacra 
ment  of  Confirmation,  the  same  spirit  is  given  us,  and  the  same 
strength  imparted,  which  enable  us  resolutely  to  encounter,  and 
with  fortitude  to  resist,  our  implacable  enemies,  the  world,  the 
flesh,  and  the  devil.8  As  often  as.  these  Sacraments  were  ad 
ministered  by  the  Apostles,  so  often,  during  the  infancy  of  the 
Church,  did  the  same  miraculous  effects  follow  ;  and  they  ceased 
not  to  be  visible  until  'the  faith  had  acquired  maturity  and 

The  Sacra-  From  what  has  been  said  of  sanctifying  grace,  the  first  effect 
ments  of  of  tiie  Sacraments,  it  also  clearly  follows,  that  there  resides  in 
kwnperi-  the  Sacraments  of  the  New  Law,  a  virtue  far  more  exalted  and 

i  Eph.  v.  25,  26.  2  S.  Aug.  in  Joan,  tract.  80. 

3  De  hoc  effectu  sacramen.  vid.  Trid.  Sess.  7,  can.  6,  7,  8.  de  sacr.  Aug.  tract.  2b 
in  Joan.  &  contr.  Faust,  c.  16  &  17,  &  in  Ps.  Ixxvii.  15, 16. 

4  Matt.  iii.  16.    Mark  i.  10.    Luke  iii.  22.  5  Acts  i.  2,  6. 

6  Aug.  lib.  quasi.  Vet.  &  Nov.  Test.  q.  93. 

On  the  Sacraments  111 

efficacious  than  that  of  the  Sacraments  of  the  Old,1  which,  as  or  to  those 
"  weak  and  needy  elements,2  sanctified  such  as  were  defiled  to  of  tne  old- 
the  cleansing  of  the  flesh,"3  but  not  of  the  spirit.  They  were, 
therefore,  instituted  as  signs  only  of  those  things,  which  were 
to  be  accomplished  by  the  Sacraments  of  the  new  law — Sacra 
ments  which  flowing  from  the  side  of  Christ,  "  who,  by  the 
Holy  Ghost,  offered  himself  unspotted  unto  God,  cleanse  our 
consciences  from  dead  works,  to  serve  the  living  God,"4  and 
thus  work  in  us,  through  the  blood  of  Christ,  the  grace  which 
they  signify.  Comparing  them,  therefore,  with  the  Sacraments 
of  the  old  law,  we  shall  find  that  not  only  are  they  more  effica 
cious,  but,  also,  more  exuberant  of  spiritual  advantages,  and 
Stamped  with  the  characters  of  superior  dignity  and  holiness.5 

The  other  effect  of  the  Sacraments,  an  effect,  however,  not  Three  of 
common  to  all,  but  peculiar  to  three,  Baptism,  Confirmation,  and  the  Sacra- 
Holy  Orders,  is  the  character  which  they  impress  on  the  soul. 
When  the  Apostle  says  :  "  God  hath  anointed  us,  who  also  hath  racter. 
sealed  us,  and  given  the  pledge  of  the  Spirit  in  our  hearts,"8  he 
clearly  designates  by  the  word  "  sealed,"  this  sacramental  cha 
racter,  the  property  of  which  is  to  impress  a  seal  and  mark  on 
the  soul.  This  character  is,  as  it  were,  a  distinctive  and  inde 
lible  impression  stamped  on  the  soul  ;7  of  which  St.  Augustine 
says  :  "  Shall  the  Christian  Sacraments  accomplish  less  than 
the  bodily  mark  impressed  on  the  soldier  ?  That  mark  is  not 
stamped  on  his  person  anew,  as  often  as  he  resumes  the  military 
service  which  he  had  relinquished ;  but  the  old  one  is  recog 
nised  and  approved."8 

This  character  has  a  two-fold  effect,  it  qualifies  us  to  receive  Its  effect 
or. perform  something  sacred,  and  distinguishes  us  one  from  an-  tw°-f°'d 
other.  In  the  character  impressed  by  Baptism,  both  effects  are 
exemplified :  by  it  we  are  qualified  to  receive  the  other  Sacra 
ments  ;  and  the  Christian  is  distinguished  from  those  who  pro 
fess  not  the  name  of  Christ.  The  same  illustration  is  afforded 
by  the  characters  impressed  by  Confirmation  and  Holy  Orders : 
by  the  one  we  are  armed  and  arrayed  as  soldiers  of  Christ,  pub 
licly  to  profess  and  defend  his  name,  to  fight  against  our  domes 
tic  enemy,  and  against  the  spiritual  powers  of  wickedness  in 
the  high  places,  and  are  also  distinguished  from  those  who, 
being  newly  baptized,  are,  as  it  were,  neAV-born  infants :  the 
other  combines  the  power  of  consecrating  and  administering  the 
Sacraments,  and  also  distinguishes  those  who  are  invested  with 
this  power,  from  the  rest  of  the  faithful.  The  rule  of  the  Ca 
tholic  Church  is,  therefore,  inviolably  to  be  observed :  it  teaches 
that  these  three  Sacraments  impress  a  character  and  are  never 
to  be  reiterated. 

1  Aug.  lib,  19  contr.  Faust,  c.  13,  &  in  Ps.  hxxiii.  Ambr.  lib.  de  Sacr.  c.  4. 

2  Gal.  iv.  9  3  Heb.  ix.  13.  1  Heb.  ix.  14. 
6  Aug.  lib.  2.  de  Simb.  c.  6,  &  in  Joan.  Tract.  15,  &  lib.  15.  de  Civil.  Dei,  c.  26 
6  2  Cor.  i.  21.                              -  Trid  ib.  can. 

8  De  hoc  charact.  vide  Aug.  lib.  2.  contr.  ep  Farm.  c.  33,  &  ep.  50,  circa,  medi 
um,  &  tract  6,  in  Joan.  &  lect.  1.  contr.  Cresceii.  c.  30.  item  D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  6J. 

112  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Two  things  On  the  subject  of  the  Sacraments  in  general,  these  are  the 
in  \ievv^hy  matters  of  instruction  which  we  proposed  to  deliver.  In  com- 
the  Pastor,  municating  them  to  the  faithful,  the  pastor  will  keep  in  view, 
m  his  ex-  principally,  two  things  :  the  one,  to  impress  on  the  minds  of  the 
of  the  Sa-  faithful  a  deep  sense  of  the  honour,  respect  and  veneration,  due 
eramcnts.  to  these  divine  and  celestial  gifts  ;  the  other,  to  urge  on  all  the 
necessity  of  having  recourse,  piously  and  religiously,  to  those 
sacred  institutions  established  by  the  God  of  infinite  mercy,  for 
the  common  salvation  of  all ;  and  of  being  so  inflamed  with  the 
desire  of  attaining  Christian  perfection,  as  to  deem  it  a  deplorable 
loss  to  be,  for  any  time,  deprived  of  the  salutary  use,  particularly, 
of  Penance,  and  of  the  Holy  Eucharist.  These  important  ob 
jects  the  pastor  will  find  little  difficulty  in  accomplishing,  if  he 
press  frequently  on  the  attention  of  the  faithful,  what  we  have 
already  said  on  the  august  dignity  and  salutary  efficacy  of 
the  Sacraments — that  they  were  instituted  by  the  Lord  Jesus, 
from  whom  nothing  imperfect  can  emanate — that  when  admi 
nistered,  the  most  powerful  influence  of  the  Holy  Ghost  is  pre 
sent,  pervading  the  inmost  sanctuary  of  the  soul — that  they  pos 
sess  an  admirable  and  unfailing  virtue  to  cure  our  spiritual 
maladies,  and  communicate  to  us  the  inexhaustible  riches  of  the 
passion  of  our  Lord — in  fine,  that  the  whole  edifice  of  Christian 
piety,  although  resting  on  the  most  firm  foundation  of  the  cor 
ner  stone,  unless  supported  on  every  side  by  the  preaching  of 
the  divine  word,  and  by  the  use  of  the  Sacraments,  must,  it  is 
greatly  to  be  apprehended,  having  partially  yielded,  ultimately 
fall  to  the  ground;  for  as  we  are  ushered  into  spiritual  life  by 
means  of  the  Sacraments ;  so,  by  the  same  means,  are  we  nur 
tured  aiid  preserved,  and  grow  to  spiritual  increase. 


Importance       FROM  what  has  been  hitherto  said  on  the  Sacraments  in  gene- 
of  the         ral,  we  may  judge  how  necessary  it  is,  to  a  proper  understand- 
of  "the^6  1US  °f  tne  doctrines  of  the  Christian  faith,  and  to  the  practice 
cramentsin  of  Christian  piety,  to  know  what  the  Catholic  Church  proposes 
particular,    to  our  belief  on  the  Sacraments  in  particular.     That  a  perfect 
OfBaptism.  knowledge  of  Baptism  is  particularly  necessary  to  the  faithful, 
an  attentive  perusal  of  the  epistles  of  St.  Paul,  will  force  upon 
the  mind.    The  Apostle,  not  only  frequently,  but  also  in  language 
the  most  energetic,  in  language  full  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  re 
news  the  recollection  of  this  mystery,  exalts  its  transcendant 
dignity,  and  in  it  places  before  us  the  death,  burial,  and  resur 
rection  of  our  Lord,  as  objects  of  our  contemplation  and  imita 
tion.1     The  pastor,  therefore,  can  never  think  that  he  has  be 

i  Rom.  vi.  3.    Colos.  ii.  12, 13. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  113 

stowed  sufficient  labour  and  attention  on  the  exposition  of  this 
Sacrament.  Besides  the  great  festivals  of  Easter  and  Pentecost, 
festivals  on  which  the  Church  celebrated  this  Sacrament  with 
the  greatest  solemnity  and  devotion,  and  on  which  particularly, 
according  to  ancient  practice,  its  divine  mysteries  are  to  be  ex 
plained  ;  the  pastor  should,  also,  take  occasion,  at  other  times, 
to  make  it  the  subject  matter  of  his  instructions.1 

For  this  purpose,  a  most  convenient  opportunity  would  seem  When  most 
to  present  itself,  whenever  the  pastor,  when  about  to  administer  gnT^ex- 
this  Sacrament,  finds  himself  surrounded  by  a  considerale  num-  plained 
her  of  the  faithful :  on  such  occasions,  it  is  true,  his  exposition 
cannot  embrace  every  thing  that  regards  baptism ;  but  he   can 
develope  one  or  two  points  with  greater  facility,  whilst  the  faith 
ful  see  them  expressed,  and  contemplate  them  with  devout  at 
tention,  in  the  sacred  ceremonies  which  he  is  performing.  Thus 
each  person,  reading  a  lesson  of  admonition  in  the  person  of  him 
who  is  receiving  baptism,  calls  to  mind  the  promises  by  which 
he  had  bound  himself  to  the  service  of  God  when  initiated  by 
baptism,  and  reflects  whether  his   life  and   morals  evince  that 
fidelity  to   which  every  one  pledges  himself,  by  professing  the 
name  of  Christian. 

To  render  what  we  have  to  say,  on  this  subject,  perspicuous,  Meaning ol 
we  shall  explain  the  nature  and  substance  of  the  Sacrament ;  ^lie  word  „ 
premising,  however,  an  explication  of  the  word  Baptism.     The  "^ptls 
word  Baptism,  as  is  well  known,  is  of  Greek  derivation.     Al 
though  used  in  Scripture  to  express  not  only  that  ablution  which 
forms  part  of  the  Sacrament,  but  also  every  species  of  ablution,3 
and  sometimes,  figuratively,  to  express  sufferings  ;  yet  it  is  em 
ployed,  by  ecclesiastical  writers,  to  designate  not  every  sort  of 
ablution,  but  that  which  forms  part  of  the  Sacrament,  and  is 
administered   with    the    prescribed  sacramental  form.     In  this 
sense,  the   Apostles  very  frequently   make  use  of  the  word,  in 
accordance  with  the  institution  of  Christ.3 

This  Sacrament,  the  Holy  Fathers  designate  also  by  other  other 
names.  St.  Augustine  informs  us  that  it  was  sometimes  called  names  rf. 
the  Sacrament  of  Faith ;  because,  by  receiving  it,  we  profess 
our  faith  in  all  the  doctrines  of  Christianity  :4  by  others  it  was 
denominated  "Illumination,"  because  by  the  faith  which  we 
profess  in  baptism,  the  heart  is  illumined  :  "  Call  to  mind,"  says 
the  Apostle,  alluding  to  the  time  of  baptism,  "  the  former  days, 
wherein  being  illumined,  you  endured  a  great  fight  of  afflic 
tions."5  St.  Chrysostom,  in  his  sermon  to  the  baptized,  calls 
it  a  purgation,  through  which  "we  purge  away  the  old  leaven, 
that  we  may  become  a  new  paste  :"°  he,  also,  calls  it  a  burial,  a 
planting,  and  the  cross  of  Jesus  Christ  :7  the  reasons  for  all 
these  appellations  may  be  gathered  from  the  epistle  of  St.  Paul 

i  r*e  hoc  usu  antique  vid.  Tertul.  lib.  de  Baptis.  c.  19.    Basil,  in  exhort,  ad  baja 
Amb.  lib.  de  myst.  Paschee.  2  Mark  vii.  4. 

3  Rom.  vi.  3.      1  Pet.  iii.  21.    Octo  baptism!  geneva  vid.  Damasc.  lib.  4.  de  fidu 
ortliod.  10.  4  D.  Aug.  epist,  25.  in  fin.          5  Heb.  x.  32.  6  1  Cor.  v.  7. 

~  S.  Chrysost.  x.  5. 
10*  P 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 


to  the  Romans.1  St.  Denis  calls  it  the  beginning  of  the  most 
holy  commandments,  for  this  obvious  reason,  that  baptism  is,  as 
it  were,  the  gate  through  which  we  enter  into  the  fellowship  of 
Christian  life,  and  begin  thenceforward,  to  obey  the  command 
ments.3  This  exposition  of  the  different  names  of  the  Sacra 
ment  of  baptism,  the  pastor  will  briefly  communicate  to  the 

With  regard  to  its  definition,  although  sacred  writers  give 
many,  to  us  that  which  may  be  collected  from  the  words  of  our 
Lord,  recorded  in  the  Gospel  of  St.  John,  and  of  the  Apostle,  in 
his  epistle  to  the  Ephesians,  appears  the  most  appropriate : 
"  Unless,"  says  our  Lord,  a  man  be  born  again  of  water  and 
the  Holy  Ghost,  he  cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God  ;"4 
and,  speaking  of  the  Church,  the  Apostle  says  :  "  cleansing  it 
by  the  laver  of  water  in  the  word  of  life."5  From  these  words, 
Baptism  may  be  accurately  and  appropriately  denned  :  "  The 
Sacrament  of  regeneration  by  water  in  the  word."  By  nature, 
we  are  born  from  Adam,  children  of  wrath ;  but  by  baptism  we  are 
regenerated  in  Christ,  children  of  mercy  ;  for,  "  He  gave  power 
to  men  to  be  made  the  sons  of  God,  to  them  that  believe  in  his 
name,  who  are  born  not  of  blood,  nor  of  the  will  of  flesh,  nor 
of  the  will  of  man,  but  of  God."8 

But,  define  Baptism  as  we  may,  the  faithful  are  to  be  informed 
that  this  Sacrament  consists  of  ablution,  accompanied,  necessa 
rily,  according  to  the  institution  of  our  Lord,  by  certain  solemn 
words.7  This  is  the  uniform  doctrine  of  the  Holy  Fathers  ;  a 
doctrine  proved  by  the  authority  of  St.  Augustine  :  "  The 
word,"  says  he,  "  is  joined  to  the  element,  and  it  becomes  a  Sa 
crament."  That  these  are  the  constituents  of  Baptism,  it  be 
comes  more  necessary  to  impress  on  the  minds  of  the  faithful, 
that  they  may  not  fall  into  the  vulgar  error  of  thinking,  that  the 
baptismal  water,  preserved  in  the  sacred  font,  constitutes  the 
Sacrament.  Then  only  is  it  to  be  called  the  Sacrament  of  Bap 
tism,  when  it  is  really  used  in  the  way  of  ablution,  accompanied 
with  the  words  appointed  by  our  Lord.8 

It»  matter.  But,  as  we  first  said,  when  treating  of  the  Sacraments  in 
general,  that  every  Sacrament  consists  of  matter  and  form  ;  it  is 
therefore,  necessary  to  point  out  what  constitutes  each  of  these 
in  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  The  matter  then,  or  element  of 
this  Sacrament,  is  any  sort  of  natural  water,  which  is,  simply, 
and  without  addition  of  any  kind,  commonly  called  water ;  be  it 
sea-water,  river-water,  water  from  a  pond,  well,  or  fountain  : 
our  Lord  has  declared  that,  "  Unless  a  man  be  born  again  of 
water  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom  of 
God."9  The  Apostle  also  says,  that  the  Church  was  cleansed 

In  what  the 

i  Rom.  vi.  3.  2  s.  Dion,  de  Eccl.  Hier.  c.  2. 

3  Do  variis  baptis.  nom.  vid.  Gregor.  Nazianz.  orat.  in  sancta  lumina.  et  Clem. 
Alex.  lib.  1.  Poedag.  cap.  6.  *  John  iii.  5.  &  Eph.  v.  26. 

6  John  i.  12,  13.  7  Mitt,  xxviii.  19. 

*  line,  de  revid.  Chrysost.  horn.  2-J.  in  Joan.  Aug.  lib.  6.  contra.  Donatist.  c.  25 
Cone.  Florent.  et  Tr.'d.  item  August,  truct.  SO  in  Joan.  9Joliinii  5. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  115 

"by  the  laver  of  water;"1  and  in  the  epistle  of  St.  Tohn,  we 
read  these  words  : — "  There  are  three  that  give  tesumony  on 
earth ;  the  spirit,  and  the  water,  and  the  blood."3  The  Scrip 
ture  affords  other  proofs  which  establish  the  same  proof.  When, 
however,  the  baptist  says  that  the  Lord  will  come,  "  who  will 
baptise  in  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  in  fire  ;"3  he  is  not  to  be  under 
stood  to  speak  of  the  matter,  but  of  the  effect  of  baptism,  pro 
duced  in  the  soul  by  the  interior  operation  of  the  Holy  Ghost ; 
or,  if  not,  of  the  miracle  performed  on  the  day  of  Pentecost, 
when  the  Holy  Ghost  descended  on  the  Apostles,  in  the  form 
of  lire,4  as  was  foretold  by  our  Lord,  in  these  words;  "John, 
indeed,  baptized  with  water,  but  you  shall  be  baptized  with  the 
Holy  Ghost,  not  many  days  hence."5 

That  water  is  the  matter  of  Baptism,  the  Almighty  signified  Figure  and 
both  by  figures  and  by  prophecies,  as  we  know  from  holy  F°Phecies 
Scripture :  According  to  the  prince  of  the  Apostles,  in  his  first  ° 
epistle,  the  deluge  which  swept  the  world,  because  "  the  wick 
edness  of  men  was  great  on  the  earth,  and  all  the  thoughts  of 
their  hearts  were  bent  upon  evil,"6  was  a  figure  of  the  waters  of 
Baptism.7  To  omit  the  cleansing  of  Naaman  the  Syrian,8  and 
the  admirable  virtue  of  the  pool  of  Bethsaida,9  and  many  simi 
lar  types,  manifestly  symbolic  of  this  mystery;  the  passage 
through  the  Red  Sea,  according  to  St.  Paul,  in  his  epistle  to  the 
Corinthians,  was  typical  of  the  waters  of  Baptism.10  With  re 
gard  to  the  oracles  of  the  prophets,  the  waters  to  which  the  pro 
phet  Isaias  so  freely  invites  all  that  thirst,"  and  those  which 
Ezekiel  saw  in  spirit,  issue  from  the  temple,13  and  also,  "  the 
fountain  "  which  Zachary  foresaw,  "  open  to  the  house  of  Da 
vid,  and  to  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem,  for  the  washing  of  the 
sinner  and  of  the  unclean  woman,"13  were,  no  doubt,  so  many 
types  which  prefigured  the  salutary  effects  of  the  waters  of 

The  propriety  of  constituting  water  the  matter  of  baptism,  of  Water, 
the  nature  and  efficacy  of  which  it  is  at  once  expressive,  St.  Je-  vvhy  the  . 
rome,  in  his  epistle  to  Oceanus,  proves  by  many  arguments.14  baptism0' 
Upon  this  subject,  however,  the  pastor  will  teach,  that  water, 
which  is  always  at  hand,  and  within  the  reach  of  all,  was  the 
fittest  matter  of  a  Sacrament  which  is  essentially  necessary  to 
all ;  and,  also,  that  water  is  best  adapted  to  signify  the  effect  of 
baptism.     It  washes  away  uncleanness,  and  is,  therefore,  strik 
ingly  illustrative  of  the  virtue  and  efficacy  of  baptism,   which 
washes  away  the  stains  of  sin.     We  may  also  add  that,  like 
water  which  cools  the  body,  baptism  in  a  great  measure  extin 
guishes  the  fire  of  concupiscence  in  the  soul.15 

But,  although,   in  case  of  necessity,  simple  water  unmixed  Chrism, 

1  Eph  v  26.  2  1  John  v.  8.  3  Matt.  ill.  11.  4  Acts  ii.  3 

5  Acts  i.  5.  6  Gen,  vi.  5.  ?  1  Pet.  iii.  20,  21.         s  4  Kings  v  14 

» John  T.I  10 1  Cor.  x.  1,  2.  »  Isaias  Iv.  1.  >2  Ezek.  xlvii.  1.' 

»  Zach.  xiii.  1  14  D;  Hieronymns  cpist.  85. 

13  De  mnteria  bapt.  vid.  Cone.  Florent.  et  Trid.  sess.  7,  can.  2,  &  de  consecrat 
dist.  4,  item  D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  56,  art.  5. 


why  used 
in  baptism. 

Form  of 
baptism  to 
be  care 
fully  ex 

In  what  it 
and  when 

What  es- 

T/te  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

with  any  other  ingredient,  is  sufficient  for  the  matter  of  baptism; 
yet,  when  administered  in  public  with  solemn  ceremonies,  the 
Catholic  Church  guided  by  apostolic  tradition,  the  more  fully 
to  express  its  efficacy,  has  uniformly  observed  the  practice  of 
adding  holy  chrism.1  And,  although  it  may  be  doubted  whether 
this  or  that  water  be  genuine,  such  as  the  Sacrament  requires, 
it  can  never  be  matter  of  doubt  that  the  proper  and  the  only 
matter  of  baptism  is  natural  water. 

Having  carefully  explained  the  matter,  which  is  one  of  the 
two  parts  of  which  the  Sacrament  consists,  the  pastor  will  evince 
equal  diligence  in  explaining  the  second,  that  is  the  form,  which 
is  equally  necessary  with  the  first.  In  the  explication  of  this 
Sacrament,  a  necessity  of  increased  care  and  study  arises,  as 
the  pastor  will  perceive,  from  the  circumstance  that  the  know 
ledge  of  so  holy  a  mystery,  is  not  only  in  itself  a  source  of 
pleasure  to  the  faithful,  as  is  generally  the  case  with  regard  to 
religious  knowledge,  but,  also,  very  desirable  for  almost  daily 
practical  use.  This  Sacrament,  as  we  shall  explain  in  its  proper 
place,  is  frequently  administered  by  the  laity,  and  most  fre 
quently,  by  women ;  and  it,  therefore,  becomes  necessary  to 
make  all  the  faithful  indiscriminately,  well  acquainted  with 
whatever  regards  its  substance. 

The  pastor,  therefore,  will  teach,  in  clear,  unambiguous  lan 
guage  intelligible  to  every  capacity,  that  the  true  and  essential 
form  of  baptism  is :  "I  BAPTIZE  THEE  IN  THE  NAME  OF  THE 
FATHER,  AND  OF  THE  SON,  AND  OF  THE  HOLY  GHOST  :"  a  form 
delivered  by  our  Lord  and  Saviour  when,  as  we  read  in  St. 
Matthew,  he  gave  to  his  Apostles  the  command:  "  Going  teach 
all  nations,  baptizing  them  in  the  name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the 
Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost."3  By  the  word  "  baptizing,"  the 
Catholic  Church,  instructed  from  above,  most  justly  understands 
that  the  form  of  the  Sacrament  should  express  the  action  of  the 
minister,  and  this  takes  place  when  he  pronounces  the  words  : 
"I  baptize  thee."  Besides  the  minister  of  the  Sacrament,  the 
person  to  be  baptized  and  the  principal  efficient  cause  of  baptism 
should  be  mentioned.  The  pronoun  "  thee,"  and  the  names  of 
the  Divine  Persons  are,  therefore,  distinctly  added  ;  and,  thus, 
the  absolute  form  of  the  Sacrament  is  expressed  in  the  words 
already  mentioned  :  "  I  baptize  thee  in  the  name  of  the  Father, 
and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost."  Baptism  is  the  work 
not  of  the  Son  alone,  of  whom  St.  John  says  :  "  This  is  he  who 
baptizeth  ;"3  but  of  the  three  Persons  of  the  blessed  Trinity. 
By  saying,  however,  "  in  the  name,"  not  names,  we  distinctly 
declare  that  in  the  Trinity  there  is  but  one  nature  and  Godhead. 
The  word  "  name"  is  here  referred  not  to  the  persons,  but  to 
the  divine  essence,  virtue  and  power,  which  are  one  and  the 
same  in  the  three  Persons.4 

It  is  however  to  be  observed,  that  of  the  words  contained  in 

1  Ambr.  lib.  1.  saer.  c.  2.  et  Innoc.  lib.  1.  deer.  tit.  1.  c.  3. 

2  Matt,  xxviii.  19.  3  John  i.  33. 

<  Vid.  Aug.  contra  Donatist.  lib.  6.  c.  25.    D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  66,  art.  5. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  117 

this  form,  which  we  have  shown  to  be  the  true  and  essential  sential, 
one,  some  are  absolutely  necessary,  the  omission  of  them  ren- 
dering  the  valid  administration  of  the  Sacrament  impossible  ;  to  it 
whilst  others,  on  the  contrary,  are  not  so  essential  as  to  affect 
its  validity.  Of  the  latter  kind  is,  in  the  Latin  form,  the  word 
"  ego,"  (I)  the  force  of  which  is  included  in  the  word  "  bap- 
tizo,"  (I  baptize.)  Nay  more,  the  Greek  Church,  adopting  a 
different  manner  of  expressing  the  form,  and  being  of  opinion 
that  it  is  unnecessary  to  make  mention  of  the  minister,  omits 
the  pronoun  altogether.  The  form  universally  used  in  the  Greek 
Church  is  :  "  Let  this  servant  of  Christ  be  baptized  in  the  name 
of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost."  It  ap 
pears,  however,  from  the  opinion  and  definition  of  the  Council 
of  Florence,  that  the  Greek  form  is  valid,  because  the  words  of 
which  it  consists,  sufficiently  express  what  is  essential  to  the  va 
lidity  of  baptism,  that  is,  the  ablution  which  then  takes  place. 

If  at  any  time  the  Apostles  baptized  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  Baptism  in 
Jesus  Christ  only,1  they  did  so,  no  doubt,  by  the  inspiration  ^Q1^!® 
of  the  Holy  Ghost,  in  order,  in  the  infancy  of  the  Church,  to  only, 
render  their  preaching  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ 
more  illustrious,  and  to  proclaim  more  effectually  his  divine  and 
infinite  power.  If,  however,  we  examine  the  matter  more 
closely,  we  shall  find  that  the  Greek  form  omits  nothing  which 
the  Saviour  himself  commands  to  be  observed  ;  for  the  name  of 
Jesus  Christ  implies  the  Person  of  the  Father  by  whom,  and 
that  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  whom  he  was  anointed.  However, 
the  use  of  this  form  by  the  Apostles  becomes,  perhaps,  matter 
of  doubt,  if  we  yield  to  the  opinions  of  Ambrose'2  and  Basil,3 
Holy  Fathers  eminent  for  sanctity  and  of  paramount  authority, 
who  interpret  "  baptism  in  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ"  as  con 
tradistinguished  to  "  baptism  in  the  name  of  John,"  and  who 
say  that  the  Apostles  did  not  depart  from  the  ordinary  and  usual 
form  which  comprises  the  distinct  names  of  the  three  Persons. 
Paul,  also,  in  his  epistle  to  the  Galatians,  seems  to  have  ex 
pressed  himself  in  a  similar  manner  :  "  As  many  of  you,"  says 
he,  "  as  have  been  baptized  in  Christ,  have  put  on  Christ  :"* 
meaning  that  they  were  baptized  in  the  faith  of  Christ,  and  with 
no  other  form  than  that  commanded  by  him  to  be  observed. 

What  has  been  said  on  the  principal  points  which  regard  the  fiaptism 
matter  and  form  of  the  Sacrament  will  be  found  sufficient  for  the  ^J^ed" 
instruction  of  the  faithful :  but,  as  in  the  administration  of  the  by  immer- 
Sacrament,  the  legitimate  ablution  should  also  be  observed,  on  s!°»> infu- 
this  point  too  the  pastor  will  explain  the  doctrine  of  the  Church. 
He  will  briefly  inform  the   faithful  that,  according  to  the  com 
mon   practice  of  the  Church,  baptism  may  be  administered  by 
immersion,  infusion,    or  aspersion ;    and  that  administered  in 
either  of  these  forms  it  is  equally  valid.     In  baptism  water  is 
used  to  signify  the  spiritual  ablution  which  it  accomplishes,  and 

1  Act  ii.  38  ,  viii.  16  ;  x.  48 ;  xix.  5.  2  Ambr.  lib.  1.  de  Spiritu  Sancto,  c.  3. 

3  Basil,  lib.  1.  de  Spiritu  Sancto,  c.  12.         <  Gal.  iii.  27. 

118  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

on  this  account  baptism  is  called  by  the  Apostle,  a  "  laver."* 
This  ablution  takes  place  as  effectually  by  immersion,  which 
was  for  a  considerable  time  the  practice  in  the  early  ages  of  the 
Church,  as  by  infusion,  which  is  now  the  general  practice,  or 
by  aspersion,  which  was  the  manner  in  which  Peter  baptized, 
when  he  converted  and  gave  baptism  to  about  three  thousand 
souls."2  It  is  also  matter  of  indifference  to  the  validity  of  the 
Sacrament,  whether  the  ablution  is  performed  once  or  thrice ; 
we  learn  from  the  epistle  of  St.  Gregory  the  great  to  Leander, 
that  baptism  was  formerly  and  may  still  be  validly  administered 
in  the  Church  in  either  way.3  The  faithful,  however,  will 
follow  the  practice  of  the  particular  Church  to  which  they 

Twoim-  The  pastor  will  be  particularly  careful  to  observe,  that  the 
matters  to  baptismal  ablution  is  not  to  be  applied  indifferently  to  any  part 
be  observ-  of  the  body,  but  principally  to  the  head,  which  is  pre-emiuently 
ed  in  its  ad-  the  seat  of  all  the  internal  and  external  senses  ;  and  also  that  he 
tion.  wno  baptizes  is  to  pronounce  the  words  which  constitute  the 

form  of  baptism,  not  before  or  after,  but  when  performing  the  ab 

Baptism  When  these  things  have  been  explained,  it  will  also  be  ex- 

uued  inSti  pedient  to  remind  the  faithful  that,  in  common  with  the  other 
Sacraments,  baptism  was  instituted  by  Christ.  On  this  sub 
ject,  the  pastor  will  frequently  point  out  two  different  periods  of 
time  which  relate  to  baptism — the  one  the  period  of  its  institu 
tion  by  the  Redeemer — the  other,  the  establishment  of  the  law 
which  renders  it  obligatory.  With  regard  to  the  former,  it  is 
clear  that  this  Sacrament  was  instituted  by  our  Lord,  when, 
being  baptized  by  John,  he  gave  to  the  water  the  power  of  sanc 
tifying.  St.  Gregory  Nazianzen*  and  St.  Augustine  testify  that 
to  the  water  was  then  imparted  the  power  of  regenerating  to 
spiritual  life.  In  another  place  St.  Augustine  says  :  "  From  the 
moment  that  Christ  is  immersed  in  water,  water  washes  away  all 
sins  :"5  and  again  the  Lord  is  baptized,  not  because  he  had  oc 
casion  to  be  cleansed,  but  by  the  contact  of  his  pure  flesh  to 
purify  the  waters,  and  impart  to  them  the  power  of  cleansing." 
The  circumstances  which  attended  the  event  afford  a  very  strong 
argument  to  prove  that  baptism  was  then  instituted  by  our  Lord. 
The  three  persons  of  the  most  Holy  Trinity,  in  whose  name 
baptism  is  conferred,  manifest  their  august  presence — the  voice 
of  the  Father  is  heard — the  Person  of  the*Son  is  present — the 
Holy  Ghost  descends  in  form  of  a  dove — and  the  heavens,  into 
which  we  are  enabled  to  enter  by  baptism,  are  thrown  open.6 
Water  con-  Should  we,  however,  ask  how  our  Lord  has  endowed  water 
secrated  to  w^  a  y^^g  so  great,  so  divine ;  this  indeed  is  an  inquiry 
baptism,  which  transcends  the  power  of  the  human  understanding.  That 
when  when  our  Lord  was  baptized,  water  was  consecrated  to  the 
baptized!18  samtary  use  of  baptism,  deriving,  although  instituted  before  the 

1  Eph.  v.  26.  2  Acts  ii.  41.  3  Greg.  lib.  i.  regist.  epist  41. 

4  Greg.  orat.  in  nat  Salvat.  circa  finem.  5  Aug.  serm.  29.  36,  37.  de  temp. 

6  Matt.  iii.  16,  17.    Mark  i.  10, 11.    Luke  ii.  21,  22. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  1 1 9 

passion,  all  its  virtue  and  efficacy  from  the  passion,  which  is  the 
consummation,  as  it  were,  of  all  the  actions  of  Christ — this,  in 
deed,  we  sufficiently  comprehend.1 

The  second  period  to  be  distinguished,  that  is,  when  the  law  The  law  01 
of  baptism  was  promulgated,  also  admits  of  no  doubt.  The  ^j^. 
Holy  Fathers  are  unanimous  in  saying,  that  after  the  resurrec-  mulgated 
tion  of  our  Lord,  when  he  gave  to  his  Apostles  the  command  : 
"  Go,  and  teach  all  nations,  baptizing  them  in  the  name  of  the 
Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost;"3  the  law  of 
baptism  became  obligatory,  on  all,  who  were  to  be  saved.  This 
is  to  be  inferred  from  these  words  of  St.  Peter :  "  who  hath  re 
generated  us  unto  a  lively  hope,  by  the  resurrection  of  Jesus 
Christ,  from  the  dead  ;"3  and  also  from  the  words  of  St  Paul ; 
"  He  delivered  himself  up  for  it :"  (he  speaks  of  the  Church) 
that  he  might  sanctify  it,  cleansing  it  by  the  laver  of  water  in 
the  word  of  life."4  In  both  passages,  the  obligation  of  baptism 
is  referred  to  the  time,  which  followed  the  death  of  our  Lord. 
These  words  of  our  Lord  :  "  Unless  a  man  be  born  again  of 
water  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom 
of  God,"5  refer  also,  no  doubt,  to  the  time  subsequent  to  his 
passion.  If  then  the  pastor  use  all  diligence  in  explaining  these 
truths  accurately  to  the  faithful,  impossible  that  they  should  not 
fully  appreciate  the  high  dignity  of  this  Sacrament,  and  enter 
tain  towards  it  the  most  profound  veneration  ;  a  veneration  which 
will  be  heightened  by  the  reflection,  that  the  Holy  Ghost,  by 
his  invisible  agency,  still  infuses  into  the  heart,  at  the  moment 
of  baptism,  those  blessings  of  incomparable  excellence,  and  of 
inestimable  value,  which  were  so  strikingly  manifested,  by  mi 
racles,  at  the  baptism  of  Christ  our  Lord.  Were  our  eyes,  like 
those  of  the  servant  of  Eliseus,6  opened  to  see  these  heavenly 
things,  who  so  insensible  as  not  to  be  lost  in  rapturous  admira 
tion  of  the  divine  mysteries,  which  baptism  would  then  present 
to  the  astonished  view  !  when,  therefore,  the  riches  of  this  Sa 
crament  are  unfolded  to  the  faithful  by  the  pastor,  so  as  to  enable 
them  to  behold  them,  if  not  with  the  eyes  of  the  body,  with 
those  of  the  soul  illumined  with  the  light  of  faith,  is  it  not  rea 
sonable  to  anticipate  similar  results  ? 

In  the  next  place,  it  appears  not  only  expedient  but  necessary,  The  mims- 
to  say  who  are  ministers  of  this  Sacrament ;  in  order  that  those  ^r°f  the 
to  whom  this  office  is  specially  confided,  may  study  to  perform  ^em!" 
its  functions,  religiously  and  holily ;  and  that  no  one,  outstep 
ping  as  it  were,  his  proper  limits,  may  unseasonably  take  pos 
session  of,  or  arrogantly  assume,  what  belongs  to  another ;  for, 
as  the  Apostle  teaches,  order  is  to  be  observed  in  all  things.7 

The  faithful,  therefore,  are  to  be  informed  that  of  those  who  Bishops 
administer   baptism   there    are    three    gradations :  bishops  and  *J dff^f 
priest*  hold  the  first  place ;  to  them  belongs  the  administration  office : 

i  Vid.  Hierott.  in  com.  in.  3.  cap.    Matt.  Aug.  serm.  36.  de  temp. 

a  Mark  xvi.  15.    Matt,  xxviii.  19.  3  1  Pet.  i.  3.  •>  Eph.  v.  25,  2G. 

5  John  iii.  5.  64  Kings  vi.  17.  7 1  Cor.  xiv.  40. 

120  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

of  this  Sacrament,  not  by  any  extraordinary  concession  of  power, 
but  by  right  of  office  ;  for  to  them,  in  the  persons  of  the  Apos 
tles,  was  addressed  the  command  :  "  Go,  baptize."1  Bishops, 
it  is  true,  not  to  neglect  the  more  weighty  charge  of  instructing 
the  faithful,  generally  leave  its  administration  to  priests ;  but 
the  authority  of  the  Fathers,3  and  the  usage  of  the  Church,  prove 
that  priests  exercise  this  function  of  the  ministry  by  a  right  in 
herent  in  the  priestly  order,  a  right  which  authorises  them  to 
baptize  even  in  presence  of  the  bishop.  Ordained  to  consecrate 
the  Holy  Eucharist,  the  Sacrament  of  peace  and  unity,3  it  is 
necessary  that  they  be  invested  with  power  to  administer  all 
those  things,  which  are  required  to  enable  others  to  participate 
of  that  peace  and  unity.  If,  therefore,  the  Fathers  have  at  any 
time  said,  that  without  the  leave  of  the  bishop,  the  priest  has 
not  power  to  baptize ;  they  are  to  be  understood  to  speak  of 
that  baptism  only,  which  was  administered  on  certain  days  of 
the  year  with  solemn  ceremonies. 

Deacons  by        Next  to  bishops  and  priests,    are  deacons,    for  whom,    as 
permission.  namerous  decrees  of  the  holy  Fathers  attest,  it  is  not  lawful, 
without  the   permission  of  the  bishop  or  priest  to  administer 

All  persons       Those  who  may  administer  baptism,  in  case  of  necessity,  but 
n'cTssit0*-    w'tnout  its  solemn  ceremonies,  hold  the  third  and  last  place  ; 
but  with-'    an(l  in  this  class  are  included  all,  even  the  laity,  men  and  wo- 
out  its  so-     men,  to  whatever  sect  they  may  belong.     This  power  extends, 
in  case  of  necessity,  even  to  Jews,  infidels,  and  heretics  ;  pro 
vided,  however,  they   intend  to  do  what  the   Catholic  Church 
does  in  that  act  of  her  ministry.     Already   established  by  the 
decrees  of  the  ancient  Fathers  and  Councils,  these  things  have 
been  again  confirmed  by  the  Council  of  Trent,  which  denounces 
anathema  against  those  who  presume  to  say,  "  that  baptism, 
even  when  administered  by  heretics,  in  the  name  of  the  Father, 
and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  with  the  intention  of 
doing  what  the  Church  does,  is  not  true  baptism."5 

In  this,  the       And  here  let  us  admire  the  supreme  goodness  and  wisdom  of 
and  wts-S      our  Lord,  who,  seeing  the  necessity  of  this  Sacrament  for  all, 
<iom  of        not  only  instituted  water,  than  which  nothing  can  be  more  corn- 
God  to  be    moilj  as  its  matter  ;  but  also  placed  its  administration  within  the 
jurisdiction  of  all.     In  its  administration,  however,  as  we  have 
already  observed,  all  are  not  allowed  to  use  the  solemn  ceremo 
nies  ;  not  that  rites  and  ceremonies  are  of  higher  dignity,  but 
because  they  are  of  inferior  necessity  to  the  Sacrament. 
Order  to  be       Let  not  the  faithful,  however,  imagine  that  this  office  is  given 
bVthemi-    promiscuously  to  all,  so  as  to  supersede  the  propriety  of  observ- 
nisters  of     ing  a  certain  order  amongst   those  who   administer  baptism : 
baptism.       \vhen  a  man  is  present,  a  woman ;   when  a  clerk,  a  layman  ; 

'  Matt,  xxviii.  19.  2  Isid.  lib.  2.  de  offic.  Eccles.  cap.  4. 

3  1  Cor.  x.  17.  4  Distinct.  93.  cap.  13. 

s  Trid.  sess.  7.  can.  de  consec.  dist.  4.  cap.  24.  Aug.  lib.  7.  contra  Donalist.  cap 
5].  et  ibid.  lib.  3.  cap.  10.  et  lib.  2.  contra  Parmen.  et  Council.  Lat.  cap.  1.  et  Cone. 
Florent  in  deer.  Eugenii. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  12  i 

when  a  priest,  a  simple  clerk,  should  not  administer  this  Sacra 
ment.  Midwives,  however,  when  accustomed  to  its  administra 
tion,  are  not  to  be  found  fault  with,  if  sometimes,  when  a  man 
is  present,  who  is  unacquainted  with  the  manner  of  its  adminis 
tration,  they  perform  what  may  otherwise  appear  to  belong  more 
properly  to  men. 

To  those  who,  as  we  have  hitherto  explained,  administer  bap-  Sponsors, 

tism,  another  class  of  persons  is  to  be  added,  who,  according  to  ?i  a.nci?nt 

•         r-  i      i~ii_       i  •  ^    ^    i      i.      I-         i  institution, 

the  most  ancient  practice  of  the  Church,  assist  at  the  baptismal  why  j^. 

font ;  and,  who,  although  formerly  called  by  sacred  writers  by  tute 
the  common  name  of  sponsors  or  sureties,  are  now  called  God 
fathers  and  God-mothers.1  As  this  is  an  office  common  almost 
to  all  the  laity,  the  pastor  will  teach  its  principal  duties,  with 
care  and  accuracy.  He  will,  in  the  first  instance,  explain  why 
at  baptism,  besides  those  who  administer  the  Sacrament,  God 
fathers  and  God-mothers  are  also  required.  The  propriety  of 
the  practice  will  at  once  appear,  if  we  keep  in  view  the  nature  of 
baptism,  that  it  is  a  spiritual  regeneration,  by  which  we  are  born 
children  of  God  ;  of  which  St.  Peter  says  :  "  As  newborn  in 
fants  desire  the  rational  milk  without  guile."3  As,  therefore, 
every  one,  after  his  birth,  requires  a  nurse  and  instructor,  by 
whose  assistance  and  assiduity  he  is  brought  up,  and  formed  to 
learning  and  morality  ;  so  those,  who,  by  the  efficacy  of  the  re 
generating  waters  of  baptism,  are  born  to  spiritual  life,  should  be 
intrusted  to  the  fidelity  and  prudence  of  some  one,  from  whom 
they  may  imbibe  the  precepts  of  the  Christian  religion,  and  the 
spirit  of  Christian  piety;  and  thus  grow  up  gradually  in  Christ, 
until,  with  the  divine  assistance,  they  at  length  arrive  at  the  full 
growth  of  perfect  manhood.  This  necessity  must  appear  still 
more  imperious,  if  we  recollect,  that  the  pastor,  who  is  charged 
with  the  public  care  of  his  parish,  has  not  sufficient  time  to 
undertake  the  private  instruction  of  children  in  the  rudiments 
of  faith.  For  this  very  ancient  practice,  we  have  this  illustrious 
testimony  of  St.  Denis  :  "  It  occurred,"  says  he,  "  to  our  divine 
leaders,"  (so  he  calls  the  Apostles,)  "  and  they  in  their  wisdom 
ordained,  that  infants  should  be  introduced  into  the  Church,  in 
this  holy  manner — that  their  natural  parents  should  deliver  them 
to  the  care  of  some  one  well  skilled  in  divine  things,  as  to  a 
master  under  whom,  as  a  spiritual  father  and  guardian  of  his 
salvation  in  holiness,  the  child  may  lead  the  remainder  of  his 
life."3  The  same  doctrine  is  confirmed  by  the  authority  of 

The  Church,  therefore,  in  her  wisdom,  has  ordained  that  not  Affinity 
only  the  person  who  baptizes,  contracts  a  spiritual  affinity  with  fn  baptist 
the  person  baptized,  but  also  the  sponsor  with  the  God-child  what  and 
and  its  parents  :  so  that  marriage  cannot  be  lawfully  contracted  between 
by  them,  and  if  contracted,  it  is  null  and  void. 

1  Tert  1.  de  bapt.  c.  18.  et  de  coron.  milit  cap.  3.  21  Pet  ii.  2. 

3  Dionys.  de  Eccl.  Hier.  c.  7.  parte  3. 

4  Habetur  de  consec.  dist.  5.  cap.  100.  et  Leo,  pp.  ib.  c.  101.  et  Cone.  Mogunt 
ib.  cap.  101.  et  30.  q.  1. 

11  0 


The  Catechism  t/  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Duties  of 


The  faithful  are  also  to  be  taught  the  duty  of  sponsors  ;  for 
such  is  the  negligence  with  which  the  office  of  sponsor  is  treated 
in  the  Church,  that  its  name  only  remains  ;  whilst  few,  if  any, 
have  the  least  idea  of  its  sanctity.  Let  all  sponsors  then,  at  all 
times  recollect  that  they  are  strictly  bound  to  exercise  a  constant 
vigilance  over  their  spiritual  children,  and  carefully  to  instruct 
them  in  the  maxims  of  a  Christian  life  ;  that  they  may  approve 
themselves  through  life,  such  as  their  sponsors  promised  they 
should  be,  by  the  solemn  ceremony  of  becoming  sponsors.  On 
this  subject,  the  words  of  St.  Denis  demand  attention  :  Speak 
ing  in  the  person  of  the  sponsor,  he  says  :  "  I  promise,  by  my 
constant  exhortations  to  induce  this  child,  when  he  comes  to  a 
knowledge  of  religion,  to  renounce  every  thing  opposed  to  his 
Christian  calling,  and  to  profess  and  perform  the  sacred  pro 
mises,  which  he  made  at  the  baptismal  font."1  St.  Augustine  also 
says  :  "I  most  earnestly  admonish  you,  men  and  women,  who 
have  become  sponsors,  to  consider  that  you  stood  as  sureties 
before  God,  for  those  whose  sponsors  you  have  undertaken  to 
become. "a  And,  indeed,  it  is  the  paramount  duty  of  every  man, 
who  undertakes  any  office,  to  be  indefatigable  in  the  discharge 
of  the  duties  which  it  imposes  ;  and  he,  who  solemnly  professed 
to  be  the  teacher  and  guardian  of  another,  should  not  abandon 
to  destitution  him  whom  he  once  received  under  his  care  and 
protection,  as  long  as  he  should  have  occasion  for  either.  Speak 
ing  of  the  duties  of  sponsors,  St.  Augustine  comprises,  in  a  few 
words,  the  lessons  of  instruction  which  they  are  bound  to  in 
culcate  upon  the  minds  of  their  spiritual  children :  "  They 
ought,"  says  he,  "  to  admonish  them  to  observe  chastity,  love 
justice,  cherish  charity  ;  and,  above  all,  they  should  teach  them 
the  Creed,  the  Lord's  prayer,  the  ten  commandments,  and  the 
rudiments  of  the  Christian  religion."3 

Hence,  it  is  not  difficult  to  decide,  who  are  inadmissible  as 
sponsors.  To  those,  who  are  unwilling  to  discharge  its  duties 
with  fidelity,  or  who  cannot  do  so  with  care  and  accuracy,  this 
sacred  trust,  no  doubt,  should  not  be  confided.  Besides,  there 
fore,  the  natural  parents,  who,  to  mark  the  great  difference  that 
exists  between  this  spiritual  and  the  carnal  bringing  up  of  youth, 
are  not  permitted  to  undertake  this  charge,  heretics,  Jews  parti 
cularly,  and  infidels,  are  on  no  account  to  be  admitted  to  the  office 
of  sponsor.  The  thoughts  and  cares  of  these  enemies  of  the 
Catholic  Church,  are,  continually,  employed  in  darkening,  by 
falsehood,  the  true  faith,  and  subverting  all  Christian  piety.4 
Number  of  The  number  of  sponsors  is  also  limited  by  the  Council  of 
Sponsors.  Trent,  to  one  male  or  female ;  or  at  most,  to  one  male  and  one 
female  ;  because  a  number  of  teachers  may  confuse  the  order 
of  discipline  and  instruction  ;  and  also  to  prevent  the  multiplica- 

Who  are 
ble  as 

1  Loco  sup.  cit.  64.  2  D.  Aug.  serm.  163.  de  temp,  et  ser.  215. 

z  Serm.  165,  de  temp,  de  cons.  dist.  4.  c.  120. 

*  30  q.  1  cap.  1  D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  67.  art.  8.  ad  2.  ex  Mogunt.  Concil.  de  consec 
dint.  4.  cap.  102. 

/         On  the  Sacrarnent  of  Baptism.  123 

tion  of  affinities,  which  must  impede  a  wider  diffusion  of  society 
by  means  of  lawful  marriage.1 

If  the  knowledge  of  what  has  been  hitherto  explained,  be,  as  JJjJjJ'  ot 
it  is,  of  importance  to  the  faithful,  it  is  no  less  important  to  them  extends 
to  know,  that  the  law  of  baptism,  as  established  by  our  Lord,  to  all. 
extends   to  all,  in  so  much,  that  unless  they  are  regenerated 
through  the  grace  of  baptism,  be  their  parents  Christians  or  in 
fidels,  they  are  born  to  eternal  misery  and  everlasting  destruc. 
tion.     The  duty  of  the  pastor,  therefore,  demands  of  him  a  fre 
quent  exposition  of  these  words  of  the  Gospel  :  "  Unless  a  man 
be  born  again  of  water  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  cannot  enter  into 
the  kingdom  of  God."3 

That  this  law  extends,  not  only  to  adults,  but  also  to  infants, 
and  that  the  Church  has  received  this  its   interpretation  from 
Apostolic  tradition,  is  confirmed  by   the  authority  and  strength-         I. 
ened  by  the  concurrent  testimony  of  the  Fathers.     Besides,  it        II. 
is  not  to  be  supposed,  that  Christ  our  Lord,  would  have  with 
held  the  Sacrament  of  baptism,  and  the  grace  which  it  imparts 
from  children,  of  whom  he  said :  "  Suffer   the  little  children, 
and  stay  them  not  from  coming  unto  me ;  for  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  is  for  such"3 — from  children  whom  he  embraced — upon 
whom  he  imposed  hands — whom  he  blessed.4    Moreover,  when        III- 
we  read  that  an  entire  family  was  baptized  by  St.  Paul,5  chil 
dren,  who  are  included  in  their  number,  must,  it  is  obvious,  have 
also  been   cleansed  in   the   purifying  waters  of  baptism.     Cir         IV. 
cumcision,  too,  which  was  a  figure  of  baptism,  affords  a  strong 
argument  in  proof  of  this  primitive  practice.  That  children  were 
circumcised  on  the  eighth  day  is  universally  known.8     If,  then, 
circumcision,  "made  by  hand,  in  despoiling  of  the  body  of  the 
flesh,"7  was  profitable  to  children,  shall  not  baptism,  which  is 
the  circumcision  of  Christ,  not  "  made  by  hand,"  be  also  profi 
table  to  them  ?     Finally,  to  use  the  words  of  the  Apostle,  "  if        V 
by  one  man's  offence,  death  reigned  through  one  ;  much  more 
they  who  receive  abundance  of  grace,  and  of  the  gift,  and  of  jus 
tice,  shall  reign  in  life   through  one,  Jesus  Christ."8     If,  then, 
through  the  transgression  of  Adam,  children  inherit  the  stain  of 
primeval  guilt,  is  there  not  still  stronger  reason  to  conclude,  that 
the   efficacious  merits  of  Christ  the  Lord  must  impart  to  them 
that  justice  and   those  graces,  which  will  give  them  a  title  to 
reign  in  eternal  life  ?     This  happy  consummation  baptism  alone 
can  accomplish.9     The  pastor,  therefore,  will  inculcate  the  ab-  Moral  re 
solute  necessity  of  administering  baptism  to  infants,  and  of  gra-  fiectlon- 

1  De  cone.  dist.  4.  c.  101.  et  Concil.  Trid.  sess.  14.  c.  10.  de  refor.  Matrim. 

2  John  iii.  5.  De  his  vide  Clem.  pp.  epist.  4.  in  med.  Aug.  in  Joan,  tract.  13.  et  t'e 
Eccles.  dogm.  cap.  24.    Amb.  de  iis  qui  myst.  initiantur,  c.  4.   Concil  Lateran.  c. .'. 
Trid.  sess.  7.  can.  51.  3  Matt.  xix.  14.  4  Mark  x.  16. 

5  1  Cor.  i.  16.  Acts  xvi.  33.  6  Gen.  xxi.  4.     Lev.  xii.  3.    Luke  i.  59 ;  ii.  21 

7  Coloss.  ii.  11.  8  Rom.  y.  17. 

a  Cone.  Trid.  sess.  5.  decret,  de  peccato  Origin,  et  sess.  7.  de  baptism,  cap.  12 — 14 
Dkmys.  de  Eccles.  Hier.  cap.  7.  Cyprian,  ep.  59.  Aug.  epist.  28.  et  lib.  de  1.  peccat. 
merit,  c.  23.  Chrys.  horn,  de  Adamo  de  Eva.  Cone.  Milevit,  c.  2.  et  de  consec. 
dist.  4  passim. 

124  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

dually  forming  their  tender  minds  to  piety,  by  Christian  pre 
cept  ;  according  to  these  admirable  words  of  the  Wiseman  :  "  A 
young  man  according  to  his  way,  even  when  he  is  old,  he  will 
not  depart  from  it."1 

Faith,  how       That  when  baptized  they  receive  the  mysterious  gifts  of  faith 
ttMnfante     cannot  be  matter  of  doubt;  not  that  they  believe  by  the  formal 
in  baptism,   assent  of  the  mind,  but  because  their  incapacity  is  supplied  by 
the  faith  of  their  parents,  if  the  parents  profess  the  true  faith, 
if  not,  (to  use  the  words  of  St.  Augustine)  "by  that  of  the  uni 
versal  society  of  the  saints  ;"2  for  they  are  said  with  propriety 
to  be  presented  for  baptism  by  all  those,  to  whom  their  initia 
tion  in  that  sacred  rite  was  a  source  of  joy,  and  by  whose  cha 
rity  they  are  united  to  the  communion  of  the  Holy  Ghost. 
Children  to       The  faithful  are  earnestly  to  be  exhorted,  to  take  care  that 

be  baptized  t^ejr  children  be  brought  to  the  church,  as  soon  as  it  can  be 

with  as  lit-    ,  °     .  . 

tie  delay  as  done  with  safety,  to  receive  solemn  baptism:    infants,  unless 

possible,      baptized,  cannot  enter  heaven,  and  hence  we  may  well  conceive 
how  deep  the  enormity  of  their  guilt,  who,  through  negligence, 
suffer  them  to  remain  without  the  grace  of  the  sacrament,  long 
er  than  necessity  may  require  ;  particularly  at  an  age  so  ten- 
Adults  to     der  as  to  be  exposed  to  numberless  dangers  of  death.3     With 
be  invited    regard  to  adults  who  enjoy  the  perfect  use  of  reason,  persons, 
ed  toTe-^"  f°r  instance,  born  of  infidel  parents,  the  practice  of  the  primitive 
ceive  bap-   Church  points  out  a  different  manner  of  proceeding :  to  them 
tlsm-  the  Christian  faith  is  to  be  proposed ;  and  they  are  earnestly 

II  to  be  exhorted,  allured,  and  invited  to  embrace  it.  If  con 
verted  to  the  Lord  God,  they  are  then  to  be  admonished,  not  to 
defer  baptism  beyond  the  time  prescribed  by  the  Church  :  it  is 
written,  "  delay  not  to  be  converted  to  the  Lord,  and  defer  it 
not  from  day  to  day  ;"4  and  they  are  to  be  taught,  that  in  their 
regard  perfect  conversion  consists  in  regeneration  by  baptism. 
IH.  Besides,  the  longer  they  defer  baptism,  the  longer  are  they  de 
prived  of  the  use  and  graces  of  the  other  Sacraments,  which 
fortify  in  the  practice  of  the  Christian  religion,  and  which  are 
IV.  accessible  through  baptism  only.  They  are  also  deprived  of 
the  inestimable  graces  of  baptism,  the  salutary  waters  of  which 
not  only  wash  away  all  the  stains  of  past  sins,  but  also  enrich 
the  soul  with  divine  grace,  which  enables  the  Christian  to  avoid 
sin  for  the  future,  and  preserve  the  invaluable  treasures  of  right 
eousness  and  innocence :  effects  which,  confessedly,  constitute 
a  perfect  epitome  of  a  Christian  life.5 

Baptism  of       On  this  class  of  persons,  however,  the  Church  does  not  con- 
adults,  why  fer  thjg  Sacrament  hastily :  she  will  have  it  deferred  for  a  cer- 
*er][e  '      tain  time ;  nor  is  the  delay  attended  with  the  same  danger  as 
in  the  case  of  infants,  which  we  have  already  mentioned :  and 
should  any  unforeseen  accident  deprive  adults  of  baptism,  thei.- 

i  Prov.  xxii.  6.  2  Ep.  23  ad  Bon. 

3  Aug.  lib.  3  de  orig.  anim.  c.  9.  et  lib.  1.  de  pecc.  merit,  c.  2,  et  ep.  28. 

4  Eccl.  v.  8. 

s  Tertul.  lib.  de  posnit.  cap.  6.  et  de  prescript,  cap.  41.  Cypr.  epist.  13.  de  consec 
dist.  4.  c.  64.  et  65.  Aug.  lib.  de  fide  et  operib.  c.  9. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baalism.  125 

intention  of  receiving  it,  and  their  repentance  for  past  sins,  will 
avail  them  to  grace  and  righteousness.     Nay,  this  delay  seems       II 
to  be  attended  with  some  advantages. — The  Church  must  take 
particular  care,  that  none  approach  this  Sacrament,  whose  hearts 
are  vitiated  by  hypocrisy  and  dissimulation ;  and,  by  the  inter 
vention  of  some  delay,  the  intentions  of  such  as  solicit  baptism, 
are  better  ascertained.    In  this  wise  precaution  originated  a  de 
cree,  passed  by  the  ancient  councils,  the  purport  of  which  was, 
that  Jewish  converts,  before  admission  to  baptism,  should  spend 
some  months  in  the  ranks  of  the  Catechumens.    The  candidate       m. 
for  baptism  is,  also,  thus  better  instructed  in  the  faith  which  he 
is  to  profess,  and  in  the  morality  which  he  is  to  practise  ;  and 
the  Sacrament,  when  administered  with  solemn  ceremonies,  on       IV 
the  appointed  days  of  Easter  and  Pentecost  only,  is  treated 
with  more  religious  respect 

Sometimes,  however,  when  there  exists  a  just  cause  to  ex- when  not 
elude  delay,  as  in  the  case  of  imminent  danger  of  death,  its  ad-  to  be  defer 
ministration  is  not  to  be  deferred  ;  particularly,  if  the  person  to  red- 
be  baptized  is  well  instructed  in  the  mysteries  of  faith.  This 
we  find  to  have  been  done  by  Philip,  and  by  the  prince  of  the 
Apostles,  when,  without  the  intervention  of  any  delay,  the  one 
baptized  the  Eunuch  of  queen  Candaces,  the  other,  Cornelius, 
as  soon  as  they  professed  a  willingness  to  embrace  the  faith 
of  Christ.1  The  faithful  are,  also,  to  be  instructed  in  the  ne 
cessary  dispositions  for  baptism,  that,  in  the  first  place,  they 
must  desire  and  purpose  to  receive  it ;  for,  as  in  baptism  we  die 
to  sin  and  engage  to  live  a  new  life,  it  is  fit  that  it  be  adminis 
tered  to  those,  only,  who  receive  it  of  their  own  free  will  and 
accord,  and  is  to  be  forced  upon  none.  Hence,  we  learn  from 
holy  tradition,  that  it  has  been  the  invariable  practice  of  the 
Church,  to  administer  baptism  to  no  individual,  without  previ 
ously  asking  him  if  he  be  willing  to  receive  it.3  This  disposi 
tion  even  infants  are  presumed  not  to  want — the  will  of  the 
Church,  when  answering  for  them,  is  declared  in  the  most  ex 
plicit  terms. 

Insane  persons,  who  are  favoured  with  lucid  intervals,  and,  Insane  per- 
during  these  lucid  intervals,  express  no  wish  to  be  baptized,  are  S0[^'  £hen 
not  to  be  admitted  to  baptism,  unless  in  extreme  cases  when  tized  amT 
death  is  apprehended.    In  such  cases,  if,  previously  to  their  in- when  not. 
sanity,  they  give  intimation  of  a  wish  to  be  baptized,  the  Sa 
crament  is  to  be  administered  ;  without  such  indication  previ 
ously  given,  they  are  not  to  be  admitted  to  baptism  ;3  and  the 
same  rule  is  to  be  followed  with  regard  to  persons  in  a  state  of 
lethargy.     But  if  they  never  enjoyed  the  use  of  reason,  the  au 
thority  and  practice  of  the  Church  decide,  that  they  are  to  be 
baptized  in  the  faith  of  the  Church,  on  the  same  principle  that 
children  are  baptized,  before  they  come  to  the  use  of  reason. 

'  Acts  viii.  38,  and  x.  48. 

2  Aug.  lib,  de  poen.  medi.  c.  2.  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  63.  $  7. 
'  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  86.  ar.  12. 

126  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Three  con-      Besides  a  wish  to  be  baptized,  in  order  to  obtain  the  grace 
quired  in*  °^  ^e  Sacrament,  faith,  for  the  same  reason,  is  also  necessary  : 
adults,        our  Lord  has  said  :  "  he  that  believes  and  is  baptized  shall  be 
faith,  com-  saved."1     Another  necessary  condition  is  compunction  for  past 
andCa°firm  sms»  an(l  a  fixed  determination  to  refrain  from  their  future  corn- 
purpose  of  mission :  should  any  one  dare  to  approach  the  baptismal  font, 
avoiding     a  8}ave  to  vicious  habits,  he  should  be  instantly  repelled,  for 
what  so  obstructive  to  the  grace  and  virtue  of  baptism,  as  the 
obdurate  impenitence  of  those  who  are  resolved  to  persevere  in 
the  indulgence  of  their  unhallowed  passions  ?     Baptism  should 
be  sought  with  a  view  to  put  on  Christ  and  to  be  united  to  him ; 
and  it  is,  therefore,  manifest  that  he  who  purposes  to  persevere 
in  sin,  should  be  repelled  from  the  sacred  font,  particularly  if 
we  recollect  that  none  of  those  things  which  belong  to  Christ 
and  his  Church,  are  to  be  received  in  vain,  and  that,  as  far  as 
regards  sanctifying  and  saving  grace,  baptism  is  received  in 
vain  by  him  who  purposes  to  live  according  to  the  flesh,  and 
not  according  to  the  spirit.3     As  far,  however,  as  regards  the 
validity  of  the  Sacrament,  if,  when  about  to  be  baptized,  the 
adult  intends  to  receive  what  the  Church  administers,  he  no 
doubt,  validly  receives  the  Sacrament.     Hence,  to  the  vast  mul 
titude,  who,  as  the  Scripture  says,  "being  compunct  in  heart," 
asked  him  and  the  other  Apostles  what  they  should  do,  Peter 
answered:  "Do  penance  and  be  baptized,  every  one  of  you;"3 
and  in  another  place  :  "  Repent  ye,  therefore,  and  be  converted, 
that  your  sins  may  be  blotted  out."4     Writing  to  the  Romans, 
St.  Paul  also  clearly  shows,  that  he  who  is  baptized  should  en 
tirely  die  to  sin ;  and  he  therefore  admonishes  us  ,  "  not  to  yield 
our  members  as  instruments  of  iniquity  unto  sin;  but  present 
ourselves  to  God,  as  those  that  are  alive  from  the  dead."5 
Reflections     Frequent  reflection  upon  these  truths  cannot  fail,  in  the  first 
I-       place,  to  fill  the  minds  of  the  faithful  with  admiration  of  the  in 
finite  goodness  of  God,  who,  uninfluenced  by  any  other  conside 
ration  than  that  of  his  own  tender  mercy,  gratuitously  bestow 
ed  upon  us,  undeserving  as  we  are,  a  blessing  such  as  baptism 
II.      — a  blessing  so  extraordinary,  so  divine!     If,  in  the  next  place, 
they  consider  how  spotless  should    be  the  lives  of  those,  who 
have  been  made  the  objects  of  such  singular  munificence,  they 
cannot  fail  to  be  convinced  of  the  imperative  obligation  imposed 
upon  them,  to  spend  each  day  of  their  lives  in  such  sanctity  and 
religious  fervour,  as  if  it  were  that  on  which  they  had  received 
the  sacrament  and  were  ennobled  by  the  grace  of  baptism.    To 
inflame  their  minds,  however,  with  a  zeal  for  true  piety,  the  pas 
tor  will  find  no  means  more  efficacious  than  an  accurate  expo 
sition  of  the  effects  of  baptism. 

Effects  of        As,  then,  these  effects  are  to  afford  matter  of  frequent  in- 

Baptism.     gtruction,  that  the  faithful  may  be  rendered  more  sensible  of 

the  high  dignity  to  which  they  are  raised  by  baptism,  and  may 

never  suffer  themselves  to  be  degraded  from  its  elevation  by  the 

i  Mark  x  vi  14.      2  j{0m.  viii.  1.     3  Acts  ii.  38.     4  Acts  iii.  19.     *  Horn.  vi.  13. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  127 

disguised  artifices  or  open  assaults  of  Satan,  they  are  to  be 
taught,  in  the  first  place,  that  such  is  the  admirable  efficacy  of  first  effect 
this  sacrament  as  to  remit  original  sin,  and  actual  guilt  however 
enormous.  This  its  transcendant  efficacy  was  foretold  long  be 
fore  by  Ezekiel,  through  whom  God  said  :  "  I  will  pour  upon 
you  clean  water,  and  you  shall  be  cleansed  from  all  your  filthi- 
ness."1  The  Apostle  also,  writing  to  the  Corinthians,  after  hav 
ing  enumerated  a  long  catalogue  of  crimes,  adds :  "  such  you 
were,  but  you  are  washed,  but  you  are  sanctified."3  That  such 
was,  at  all  times,  the  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church,  is  not 
matter  of  doubtful  inquiry :  "  By  the  generation  of  the  flesh," 
says  St.  Augustine,  in  his  book  on  the  baptism  of  infants,  "  we 
contract  original  sin  only  ;  by  the  regeneration  of  the  Spirit, 
we  obtain  forgiveness  not  only  of  original,  but  also  of  actual 
guilt."3  St.  Jerome,  also,  writing  to  Oceanus,  says  :  "  All  sins 
are  forgiven  in  baptism."*  To  obviate  the  possibility  of  doubt 
upon  the  subject,  the  Council  of  Trent,  to  the  definitions  of  for 
mer  Councils,  has  added  its  own  distinct  declaration,  by  pro 
nouncing  anathema  against  *V)se,  who  should  presume  to  think 
otherwise,  or  should  dare  I •,-  assert  "  that  although  sin  is  for 
given  in  baptism,  it  is  not  entirely  removed,  or  totally  eradicat 
ed  ;  but  is  cut  away  in  such  a  manner,  as  to  leave  its  roots  still 
firmly  fixed  in  the  soul."5  To  use  the  words  of  the  same  holy 
Council:  "  God  hates  nothing  in  those  who  are  regenerated, 
for  in  those  who  are  truly  buried  with  Christ,  by  baptism,  unto 
death,6  '  who  walk  not  according  to  the  flesh,'  there  is  no  con 
demnation  :7  putting  of  the  old  man,  and  putting  on  the  new, 
whi-ch  is  created  according  to  God,8  they  become  innocent, 
spotless,  innoxious,  and  beloved  of  God." 

That  concupiscence,  however,  or  the  fuel  of  sin,  still  remains,  Concu 
as  the  Council  declares  in  the  same  place,  must  be  acknow-  p^cence 
ledged  :fl  but  concupiscence  does  not  constitute  sin,  for,  as  St.  mains  a^r 
Augustine  observes,  "in  children,  who  have  been  baptized,  the  baptism, no 
guilt  of  concupiscence  is  removed,  the  concupiscence  itself  re- sin" 
mains  for  our  probation  ;"  and  in  another  place:   "  the  guilt  of 
concupiscence   is   pardoned   in   baptism,   but  its   infirmity  re 
mains."10     Concupiscence  is  the  effect  of  sin,  and  is  nothing 
more  than  an  appetite  of  the  soul,  in  itself  repugnant  to  reason. 
If  unaccompanied  with  the  consent  of  the  will,  or  unattended 
with  neglect  on  our  part,  it  differs  essentially  from  the  nature 
of  sin.     This  doctrine  does  not  dissent  from  these  words  of  St. 
Paul :  "  I  did  not  know  concupiscence,  if  the  law  did  not  say  : 
'  thou  shalt  not  covet.'  ""     The  apostle  speaks  not  of  the  im 
portunity  of  concupiscence,  but  of  the  sinfulness  of  the  interior 

'  Ezek.  xxxvi.  25.  21  Cor.  vi.  11. 

»  Lib.  1.  de  pec.  merit,  et  remis.  c.  15.       «  Epist.  85.  ante  medium. 

$  Sess.  5.  can.  5.  6  Rom.  vi.  4. 

7  Rom.  viii.  1.  »  Eph.  iv.  22.  24. 

9  De  hoc  effectu  baptismi  vide  insuper  Aug.  lib.  1.  contra  duas  ep.  Pelag.  c.  13. 
etl.  3.  c.  f>.  in  Enchir.  c.  64.  et  lib.  1.  de  nupf.  et  concup.  c.  25.  iiem  Greg.  lib.  9 
ep.  39.  Concil  Vienn.  et  Flor  in  mater,  de  Sacrament. 

10  Aug.  I.  2.  de  pec.  mer.  remiss,  c.  4.         "  Rom.  vii.  7. 

128  The  CatecMsm  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

act  of  the  will,  in  assenting  to  its  solicitations.  The  same  doc 
trine  is  taught  by  St.  Gregory,  when  he  says  :  "  If  there  are  any 
who  assert  that,  in  baptism,  sin  is  but  superficially  effaced, 
what  can  savour  more  of  infidelity  than  the  assertion  ?  By  the 
Sacrament  of  Baptism  sin  is  utterly  eradicated,  and  the  soul  ad 
heres  entirely  to  God."1  In  proof  of  this  doctrine  he  has  re 
course  to  the  testimony  of  our  Lord  himself,  who  says  in  St. 
John:  "He  that  is  washed,  needeth  not  but  to  wash  his  feet, 
but  he  is  wholly  clean."3 

Figure  of        But  should  illustration  be  desired,  an  express  figure  and  image 
baptism  il-  of  the  efficacy  Of  baptism  will  be  found  in  the  history  of  the  le- 
of  to  fort    prosy  of  Naaman  the  Syrian,  of  whom  the  Scriptures  inform  us, 
effect.        tnat  when  he  had  washed  seven  times  in  the  waters  of  the  Jordan, 
he  was  so  cleansed  from  his  leprosy,  that  his  flesh  became  "  like 
the  flesh  of  a  child."3     The  remission  of  all  sin,  original  and 
actual,  is  therefore  the  peculiar  effect  of  baptism.     That  this 
was  the  object  of  its  institution  by  our  Lord  and  Saviour,  is  a 
truth  clearly  deduced  from  the  testimony  of  St.  Peter,  to  say- 
nothing  of  the  array  of  evidence  that  might  be  adduced  from 
other  sources :  "  Do  penance,"  says  he,  "  and  be  baptized  every 
one  of  you,  in  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ,  for  the  remission  of 
your  sins."4 

Second  ef-      But  in  baptism,  not  only  is  sin  forgiven,  but  with  it  all  the 
feet  of  bap-  punishment  due  to  sin  is   remitted  by  a  merciful  God.      To 
communicate  the  virtue  of  the  passion  of  Christ  is  an  effect 
common  to  all  the  Sacraments  ;  but  of  baptism  alone  does  the 
Apostle  say,  that  "  by  it  we  die  and  are  buried  together  with 
Christ."5     Hence  the  Church  has  uniformly  taught,  that  to  im 
pose  those  offices  of  piety,  usually  called  by  the  Fathers  works 
of  satisfaction,  on  him,  who  is  to  be  cleansed  in  the  salutary 
waters  of  baptism,  would  be  derogatory  in  the  highest  degree 
This  doc-    to  the  dignity  of  this  Sacrament.6     Nor   is  there  any  discre- 
SnsistenT"  pancy  between  the  doctrine  here  delivered  and  the  practice  of 
with'  the     the  primitive  Church,  which  of  old  commanded  the  Jews,  when 
practice  of  preparing  for  baptism,  to  observe  a  fast  of  forty  days.    The  fast 
mftive"      ^ms  imposed  was  not  enjoined  as  a  work  of  satisfaction  :  it  was 
Church,      a  practical  lesson  of  instruction  to  those  who  were  to  receive 
the  Sacrament ;  and  one  well  calculated  to  impress  upon  their 
minds  a  deeper  sense  of  the  august  dignity  of  a  rite,  of  which 
they  were  not  admitted  to  be  participators,  without  devoting 
some  time  to  the  uninterrupted  exercise  of  fasting  and  prayer. 
Baptism          But,  although  the  remission  by  baptism  of  the  punishments 
gives  no     due  to  sin  cannot  be  questioned,  we  are  not  hence  to  infer  that 

i  L.  9.  Reg.  epist.  39.  2  John  xiii.  10.  3  4  Kings  v.  14. 

4  Acts  ii.  38.    De  concupiscentia  remanente  in  baptizatis  vide  Aug.  lib    1.  de 
pec.  merit,  et  remiss,  c.  39.  item  lib.  1.  contra  duas  Epist.  Felag.  c.  13. .lib.  3.  c.  3.  > 
in  medio,  et  lib.  1.  de  nupt.  et  concup.  c.  23.  et  25.  item  lib.  6.  contra  Julian,  q.  5. 
et  de  verb.  Apost.  serm.  6. 

5  Rom.  vi.  3,  4.    Col.  ii.  12. 

6  Quod  poence  peccatis  debite  remittantur  in  baptismo,  vide  Ambros.  in  c.  11.  ad 
Rom.  Aug.  1. 1.  de  nupt  et  concupis.  c.  33.  et  in  Ench.  c.  4  D.  Thorn  p.  3.  q  69. 
art.  2.  unde  nee  ulla  est  imponenda  poenitentia.    Greg.  1.  7.  regist  Lpisc  24.  et 
habetur  de  consecrat.  distinct.  4.  cap.  ne  quod  absit  U.  Inom.  3  p  q.  u«.  art  o. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  120 

it  gives  the  offender  an  exemption  from  undergoing  the  punish-  exemption 
ments  awarded  by  the  civil  laws  to  public  delinquency — that,  from  the 
for  instance,  it  rescues  from  the  hand  ot  justice  the  man  who  is  of'thTcivil 
legally  condemned  to  forfeit  his  life  to  the  violated  laws  of  his  law- 
country.     We  cannot,  however,  too  highly  commend  the  reli 
gion  and  piety  of  those  princes,  who,  on  some  occasions,  remit 
the  sentence  of  the  law,  that  the  glory  of  God  may  be  the  more 
strikingly  displayed  in  his  Sacraments.     Baptism  also  remits 
all  the  punishment  due  to  original  sin  in  the  next  life,  and  this 
it  does  through  the  merits  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.     By  bap 
tism,  as  we  have  already  said,  we  die  with  Christ,  "  for  if," 
says  the  Apostle,  "  we  have  been  planted  together  in  the  like 
ness  of  his  death,  we  shall  be  also  in  the  likeness  of  his  re 

Should  it  be  asked  why,  after  baptism,  we  are  not  exempt  in  These  in- 
this  life  from  these  inconveniences,  which  flow  from  original  f'0"™™™- 
sin,  and  restored  by  the  influence  of  this  Sacrament  to  that  state  g^a"  si£ 
of  perfection,  in  which  Adam,  the  father  of  the  human  race,  why  not' 
was  placed  before  his  fall ;  for  this  two  principal  reasons  are  TTTL 

*  1  1          /»  i  111  "V  Duplisiu. 

assigned :  the  first,  that  we,  who  by  baptism  are  united  to,  and 
become  members  of  Christ's  body,  may  not  be  more  honoured 
than  our  head.  As,  therefore,  Christ,  our  Lord,  although  clothed 
from  his  birth  with  the  plenitude  of  grace  and  truth,  was  not 
divested  of  human  infirmity,  until,  having  suffered  and  died,  he 
rose  to  the  glory  of  immortality ;  it  cannot  appear  extraordinary, 
if  the  faithful,  even  after  they  have  received  the  grace  of  justifi 
cation  by  baptism,  are  clothed  with  frail  and  perishable  bodies  ; 
that  after  having  undergone  many  labours  for  the  sake  of  Christ, 
and  having  closed  their  earthly  career,  they  may  be  recalled  to 
life,  and  found  worthy  to  enjoy  with  him  an  eternity  of  bliss. 

The  second  reason  why  corporal  infirmity,  disease,  sense  of  n 
pain,  and  motions  of  concupiscence,  remain  after  baptism,  is, 
that  in  them  we  may  have  the  germs  of  virtue  from  which  we 
shall  hereafter  receive  a  more  abundant  harvest  of  glory,  and 
treasure  up  to  ourselves  more  ample  rewards.  When,  with 
patient  resignation,  we  bear  up  against  the  trials  of  this  life, 
and  aided  by  the  divine  assistance,  subject  to  the  dominion  of 
reason  the  rebellious  desires  of  the  heart,  we  may  and  ought  to 
cherish  an  assured  hope,  that  the  time  will  come  when,  if  with 
the  Apostle  we  shall  have  "  fought  a  good  fight,  finished  the 
course,  and  kept  the  faith,  the  Lord,  the  just  judge,  will  render 
to  us,  on  that  day,  a  crown  of  justice,  which  is  laid  up  for  us."3 
Such  seems  to  have  been  the  divine  economy  with  regard  to  An  iliuo 
the  children  of  Israel :  God  delivered  them  from  the  bondage  Cation. 
of  Egypt,  having  drowned  Pharaoh  and  his  host  in  the  sea  ;3 
yet  he  did  not  conduct  them  immediately  into  the  happy  land 
of  promise.  He  first  tried  them  by  a  variety  and  multiplicity 
of  sufferings  ;  and  when  he  afterwards  placed  them  in  posses 
sion  of  the  promised  land,  he  expelled  from  their  native  terri- 

1  Rom.  vi.  5  2  Tim.  iv.  7. 


130  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

tories,  the  other  inhabitants;  whilst  a  few  other  nations,  whom 
they  could  not  exterminate,  remained,  that  the  people  of  God 
might  never  want  occasions  to  exercise  their  warlike  fortitude 
and  valour.1 

III.  To  these  we  may  add  another  consideration,  which  is,  that 

if  to  the  heavenly  gifts  with  which  the  soul  is  adorned  in  bap 
tism,  were  appended  temporal  advantages,  we  should  have  good 
reason  to  doubt  whether  many  might  not  approach  the  baptis 
mal  font,  with  a  view  to  obtain  such  advantages  in  this  life, 
rather  than  the  glory  to  be  hoped  for  in  the  next ;  whereas  the 
Christian  should  always  propose  to  himself,  not  the  delusive 
and  uncertain  things  of  this  world,  "  which  are  seen,"  but  the 
solid  and  eternal  enjoyments  of  the  next,  "  which  are  not  seen."3 
Baptism,      This  life,  however,  although  full  of  misery,  does  not  want  its 
the  source    pleasures  and  joys.     To  us,  who  by  baptism  are  engrafted  as 
ofhappi-       f  At     •  f  i  i_   i      i. 

ness  to  the  branches  on  Christ,3  what  source  of  purer  pleasure,  what  ob- 
Ohristiari,  ject  of  nobler  ambition,  than,  taking  up  our  cross,  to  follow  him 
as  our  leader,  fatigued  by  no  labour,  retarded  by  no  danger  in 
pursuit  of  the  rewards  of  our  high  vocation  ;  some  to  receive  the 
laurel  of  virginity,  others  the  crown  of  doctors  and  confessors, 
some  the  palm  of  martyrdom,  others  the  honours  appropriated 
to  their  respective  virtues  ?  These  splendid  titles  of  exalted 
dignity  none  of  us  should  receive,  had  we  not  contended  in  the 
race,  and  stood  unconquered  in  the  conflict. 

Third ef-  But  to  return  to  the  effects  of  baptism,  the  pastor  will  teach 
feet  of  bap-  t]lat?  by  virtue  of  this  Sacrament,  we  are  not  only  delivered 
from  what  are  justly  deemed  the  greatest  of  all  evils,  but  are 
also  enriched  with  invaluable  goods.  Our  souls  are  replenished 
with  divine  grace,  by  which,  rendered  just  and  children  of  God 
we  are  made  coheirs  to  the  inheritance  of  eternal  life  ;  for  it  in 
written,  "  he  that  believeth  and  is  baptized,  shall  be  saved;"4 
and  the  Apostle  testifies,  that  the  Church  is  cleansed,  "  by  the 
laver  of  water,  in  the  word  of  life."5  But  grace,  according  to 
the  definition  of  the  Council  of  Trent,  a  definition  to  which, 
under  pain  of  anathema,  we  are  bound  to  defer,  not  only  remits 
sin,  but  is  also  a  divine  quality  inherent  in  the  soul,  and,  as  it 
were  a  brilliant  light  that  effaces  all  those  stains  which  obscure 
the  lustre  of  the  soul,  and  invests  it  with  increased  brightness 
and  beauty.8  This  is  also  a  clear  inference  from  the  words  of 
Scripture  when  it  says,  that  grace  is  "  poured  forth,"7  and  also 
when  it  calls  grace,  "  the  pledge"  of  the  holy  Ghost.8 
Fourth  ef-  The  progress  of  grace  in  the  soul  is  also  accompanied  by  a 
feet  of  bap-  mogt  gpiendij  train  of  virtues  ;  and  hence,  when  writing  to 
Titus,  the  Apostle  says  :  "  He  saved  us  by  the  laver  of  regene 
ration,  and  renovation  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  whom  he  hath  poured 

i  Judges  hi.  1,2.  22  Cor.  iv.  17, 18.  »  John  xv.  2. 

«  Mark  xvi.  16.  *  Ephes.  v.  26. 

6  Sess.  6,  7,  de  justific.  7  Tit  iii.  6. 

s  Eph.  i.  14.— 2  Cor.  i.  22,  et  v.  5.— Quid  sit  gratia  de  qua  hie  vide  August,  lib.  I. 
de  pecoat.  merit,  et  remiss,  c.  10.  item  de  spiritu  et  litera,  c.  28,  versus  finem.  Bern 
ard,  serm.  1.  in  cocria  domini. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  131 

forth  upon  us  abundantly,  through  Jesus  Christ  our  Saviour  j"1 
St.  Augustine,  in  explanation  of  the  words,  "poured  forth  on 
us  abundantly,"  says,  "that  is,  for  the  remission  of  sins,  and 
for  abundance  of  virtues."3 

By  baptism  we  are  also  united  to  Christ,  as  members  to  their  Fifth  effect 
head :  as,  therefore,  from  the  head  proceeds  the  power  by  which  of  baptism, 
the  different  members  of  the  body  are  impelled  to  the  proper 
performance  of  their  peculiar  functions  ;   so  from  the  fulness 
of  Christ  the  Lord,  are  diffused  divine  grace  and  virtue  through 
all  those  who  are  justified,  qualifying  them  for  the  performance 
of  all  the  offices  of  Christian  piety.3 

We  are,  it  is  true,  supported  by  a  powerful  array  of  virtues.  Difficulty. 
It  should  not,  however,  excite  our  surprise  if  we  cannot,  without  °f  practis- 
much  labour  and  difficulty  undertake,  or,  at  least,  perform  acts  j^SX 
of  piety,  and  of  moral  virtue.    If  this  is  so,  it  is  not  because  the  baptism, 
goodness  of  God  has  not  bestowed  on  us  the  virtues  from  which  whence  il 
these  actions  emanate ;  but  because  there  remains,  after  bap-  "'b^com? 
tism,  a  severe  conflict  of  the  flesh  against  the  spirit,4  in  which,  bated, 
however,  it  would  not  become  a  Christian  to  be  dispirited  or 
grow  faint.     Relying  on  the  divine  goodness,  we  should  confi 
dently  hope,  that  by  a  constant  habit  of  leading  a  holy  life,  the 
time  will  arrive,  when  "  whatever  things  are  modest/ whatever 
just,  whatever  holy,"5  will  also  prove  easy  and  agreeable.     Be 
these  the  subjects  of  our  fond  consideration ;  be  these  the  ob 
jects  of  our  cheerful  practice  ;  that  "  the  God  of  peace  may  be 
with  us."8 

By  baptism,  moreover,  we  are  sealed  with  a  character  that  Sixth  effect 
can  never  be  effaced  from  the  soul,  of  which,  however,  it  were  °<'baptism. 
here  superfluous  to  speak  at  large,  as  in  what  we  have  already 
said  on  the  subject,  when  treating  of  the  Sacraments  in  general, 
the  pastor  will  find  sufficient  matter  on  the  subject,  to  which  he 
may  refer.7 

But  as  from  the  nature  and  efficacy  of  this  character,  it  has  Baptism 
been  defined  by  the  Church,  that  this  Sacrament  is  on  no  ac-  not  to  be 
count  to  be  reiterated,  the  pastor  should  frequently  and  diligently 
admonish  the  faithful  on  this  subject,  lest  at  any"  time  they  may 
err  on  a  matter  of  such  moment.     The  doctrine  which  prohi 
bits  the  reiteration  of  baptism,  is  that  of  the  Apostle,  when  he 
says  :     "  One  Lord,  one  faith,  one  baptism."8     Again,  when 
exhorting  the  Romans,  that  dead  in  Christ  by  baptism,  they 
lose  not  the  life  which  they  received  from  him,  he  says:    "  In 

1  Tit.  iii.  5,  6. 

2/S6  l\°i efectubaJ>ti8mi  vide  Chrysost.  horn,  ad  Neoph.  et  haptis.  Damas.  lib.  2, 
de  fide  Orthod.  c.  36.  Lactant.  lib.  3,  Drvin.  Instil,  c.  25.  Aug.  Epist  23,  ad  Bonifac 
item  lib.  1,  de  peccat.  merit,  et  remiss,  c.  29,  Prosp.  1.  2,  de  vocat.  Gent.  c.  9. 

3  Quod  per  baptismum  Christi  capiti  ut  membra  connectamur,  vide  August 
epist.  23,  item  lib.  1,  de  pec.  meritis  et  remiss,  c.  16.  Prosp.  de  voc.  Gent.  Lie  9 
Bernard,  serm.  1.  in  Ccena  Dom.  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  69.  art  5 

4  Gal.  v.  17.  5  Ph.lip,  iv.  8. 

6  2  Cor.  xm.  11.— Vide  hac  de  re  Aug.  lib.  v-  contra  Julian,  c.  2,  et  5.  item  de 
peccat.  merit,  et  remiss,  lib.  1.  c.  3. 

7  Vide  Aug  lib.  6,  contra  Donatist.  cap.  1.  et  in  epist.  Joan,  tract  5.  Trid.  sess.  7. 
Eph.  iv.  5. 


Not  repeat 
ed,  even 
when  ad 

When  to 
to  be  admi 

effect  of 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

that  Christ  died  to  sin,  he  died  once  ;"*  he  seems  clearly  to 
signify  that  as  Christ  cannot  die  again,  neither  can  we  die  again 
by  baptism.  Hence  the  Church  openly  professes  that  she  be 
lieves  "  one  baptism ;"  and  that  this  accords  with  the  nature 
and  object  of  the  Sacrament  appears  from  the  very  idea  of  bap 
tism,,  which  is  a  spiritual  regeneration.  As  then,  according  to 
the  laws  of  nature,  we  are  born  but  once,  and  "  our  birth,"  as 
St.  Augustine  observes,  "  cannot  be  repeated,"3  so,  in  the  su 
pernatural  order,  there  is  but  one  spiritual  regeneration,  and, 
therefore,  baptism  can  never  be  administered  a  second  time.3 

Nor  let  it  be  supposed,  that  this  Sacrament  is  repeated  by  the 
Church,  when  she  admits  to  the  baptismal  font  those  of  whose 
previous  baptism  reasonable  doubts  are  entertained,  making  use 
of  this  form :  "  if  thou  art  already  baptized,  I  baptize  thee  not 
again ;  but  if  thou  are  not  already  baptized,  I  baptize  thee  in 
name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost :" 
in  such  cases  baptism  is  not  to  be  considered  as  repeated  (its 
repetition  would  be  an  impiety),  but  as  holily,  because  condition 
ally  administered. 

In  this,  however,  the  pastor  should  use  particular  precaution, 
in  order  to  avoid  certain  abuses  which  are  of  almost  daily  oc 
currence,  to  the  no  small  irreverence  of  this  Sacrament.  There 
are  those  who  think  that  they  commit  no  sin  by  the  indiscrimi 
nate  administration  of  conditional  baptism  :  if  a  child  is  brought 
before  them,  they  imagine  that  inquiry  as  to  its  previous  bap 
tism  is  unnecessary,  and  accordingly  proceed,  without  delay,  to 
administer  the  Sacrament.  Nay  more,  having  ascertained  that 
the  child  received  private  baptism,  they  hesitate  not  to  repeat 
its  administration  conditionally,  making  use,  at  the  same  time, 
of  the  solemn  ceremonies  of  the  Church  !  Such  temerity  in 
curs  the  guilt  of  sacrilege,  and  involves  the  minister  in  what 
theologians  call  an  "  irregularity."  It  has  been  authoritatively 
decided  by  pope  Alexander,  that  the  conditional  form  of  bap 
tism  is  to  be  used  only  when,  after  due  inquiry,  doubts  are  en 
tertained  of  the  validity  of  the  previous  baptism  ;4  and  in  no 
other  case  can  it  ever  be  lawful  to  administer  baptism  a  second 
time,  even  conditionally.5 

Besides  the  many  other  advantages  which  accrue  to  us  from 
baptism,  we  may  look  upon  it  as  the  last,  to  which  all  the  rest 
seem  to  be  referred,  that  it  opens  to  us  the  portals  of  Heaven, 
which  sin  had  closed  against  our  admission.  All  these  effects, 
which  are  wrought  in  us  by  virtue  of  this  Sacrament,  are  dis 
tinctly  marked  by  the  circumstances  which,  as  the  Gospel  re 
lates,  accompanied  the  baptism  of  our  Saviour.  The  heavens 

i  Rom.  vi.  10.  2  In  Joan,  tract  11. 

3  Hac  de  re  vide  Trid.  Sess.  7,  de  baptismo,  can.  11.  et  13.  item  Concil.  Carlha. 
can.  1,  Vien.  ut  habetur  in  Clem.  1.  lib.  de  sum.  Trinit.  D.  August,  tract.  11.  in 
Joan.  Beda  in  capite  3,  Joan.  Leo  Mag.  epist.  37,  et  39,  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  66,  a.  9. 

4  Lib.  1 .  Decretal,  tit.  de  baptismo.  c.  de  quidem. 

5  De  irregularitate  cujus  hie  est  menlio,  vid,  apostat.  et  reit.  baptism,  c.  ex  litte- 
rarum,  et  de  Conseci  dist.  4.  c.  eos  qui.  et  lib.  3.  decretal,  de  baptismo  et  ejus  ef- 
fectu.  c.  de  quibus. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  133 

were  opened  and  the  Holy  Ghost  appeared  descending  upon 
Christ  our  Lord,  in  form  of  a  dove  ;a  by  which  we  are  given  to 
understand,  that  to  those  who  are  baptized  are  imparted  the  gifts 
of  the.  Holy  Spirit,  that  to  them  are  unfolded  the  gates  of  Hea 
ven,  opening  to  them  an  entrance  into  glory ;  not,  it  is  true, 
immediately  after  baptism,  but  in  due  season,  when  freed  from 
the  miseries  of  this  life,  which  are  incompatible  with  a  state  of 
bliss,  they  shall  exchange  a  mortal  for  an  immortal  life. 

These  are  the  fruits  of  baptism,  which,  as  far  as  regards  the  Efficacy  of 

efficacy  of  the  Sacrament,  are,  no  doubt,  common  to  all ;  but  as  the  ^iicra' 
r  J  n       ,        ,.          .  .  .  ,        ,  .   .     .  ....     ment  com- 

tar  as  regards  the  dispositions  with  which  it  is  received,  it  is  mon  to  all. 

no  less  certain  that  all  do  not  participate  equally  of  these  hea-  not  so  its 
venly  gifts  and  graces.  |^d 

It  now  remains  to  explain,  clearly  and  concisely,  what  re-  The  pray- 
gards  the  prayers,  rites,  and  ceremonies  of  this  Sacrament.    To  ers.ntes, 
rites  and  ceremonies  may,  in  some  measure,  be  applied  what  Conies  of 
the  Apostle  says  of  the  gift  of  tongues,  that  it  is  unprofitable  to  baptism,  to 
speak,  unless  he  who  hears  understands.2     They  present  an  b*;  exPlam' 
image,  and  convey  the  signification  of  the  things  that  are  done 
in  the  Sacrament;  but  if  the  people  understand  not  their  force 
and  significancy,  they  can  be  of  very  little  advantage  to  them. 
To  make  them  understood,  therefore,  and  to  impress  the  minds 
of  the  faithful  with  a  conviction  that,  although  not  of  absolute 
necessity,  they  are  of  very  great  importance,   and  challenge 
great  veneration,  are  matters  which  solicit  the  zeal  and  industry 
of  the  pastor.    This,  the  authority  of  those  by  whom  they  were 
instituted,  who  were,  no  doubt,  the  Apostles,  and  also  the  ob 
ject  of  their  institution,  sufficiently  prove.     That  ceremonies 
contribute  to  the  more  religious  and  holy  administration  of  the 
Sacraments,  serve  to  exhibit  to  the  eyes  of  the  beholder  a  lively 
picture  of  the  exalted  and  inestimable  gifts  which  they  contain, 
and  impress  on  the  minds  of  the  faithful  a  deeper  sense  of  the 
boundless  beneficence  of  God,  are  truths  as  obvious  as  they  are 

But  that  in  his  expositions  the  pastor  may  follow  a  certain  Reduced  to 
order,  and  that  the  people  may  find  it  easier  to  recollect  his  in-  threehcade 
structions,  all  the  ceremonies  and  prayers  which  the  Church 
uses  in  the  administration  of  baptism,  are  to  be  reduced  to  three 
heads.     The  first  comprehends  such  as  are   observed  before 
coming  to  the  baptismal  font — the  second,  such  as  are  used  at 
the  font — the  third,  those  that  immediately  follow  the  adminis 
tration  of  the  Sacrament. 

In  the  first  place,  then,  the  water  to  be  used  in  baptism  should         I. 
be  previously  prepared  :  the  baptismal  water  is  consecrated  with  The  water' 
the  oil  of  mystic  unction  ;  and  this  cannot  be  done  at  all  times, 
but,  according  to  ancient  usage,  on  the  vigils  of  certain  festivals, 
which  are  justly  deemed  the  greatest  and  the  most  holy  solem- 

i  Matth.  iii.  16.  2  ]  Cor.  xiv.  2. 

3  De  eis  ritibus  vide  Dion.  cap.  2.  de  Eccles.  Hier.  Clem.  Epist.  3.  Tertul.  lib.  de 
corona  milit.  et  de  baptism,  passim.  Origen,  horn.  12.  in  num.  Cypr.  Epist.  70.  item 
vide  de  consece  disk  4- 

134  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

nities  in  the  year,  and  on  which  alone,  except  in  cases  of  neces 
sity,  it  was  the  practice  of  the  ancient  Church  to  administer 
baptism.1  But  although  the  Church,  on  account  of  the  dangers 
to  which  life  is  continually  exposed,  has  deemed  it  expedient 
to  change  her  discipline  in  this  respect,  she  still  observes  with 
the  greatest  solemnity  the  festivals  of  Easter  and  Pentecost,  on 
which  the  baptismal  water  is  to  be  consecrated. 

The  person       After  the  consecration  of  the  water,  the  other  ceremonies  that 
tized  baP~    Precede  baptism,  are  next  to  be  explained.     The  person  to  be 
stands  at     baptized  is  brought  or  conducted  to  the  door  of  the  church,  and 
the  church  js  forbidden  to  enter,  as  unworthy  to  be  admitted  into  the  house 
of  God,  until  he  has  cast  off  the  yoke  of  the  most  degrading 
servitude  of  Satan,  devoted  himself  unreservedly  to  Christ,  and 
pledged  his  fidelity  to  the  just  sovereignty  of  the  Lord  Jesus.3 
Catecheti-        The  priest  then  asks  what  he  demands  of  the  Ch'urch  of  God ; 
cahnstruc-  an  j  navjng  received  the  answer,  he  first  instructs  him  catecheti- 
cally,  in  the  doctrines  of  the  Christian  faith,  of  which  a  profes 
sion  is  to  be  made  in  baptism.3     This  practice  of  thus  commu 
nicating  instruction  originated,  no  doubt,  in  the  precept  of  our 
Lord,  addressed  to  his  Apostles  :   "  Go  ye  into  the  whole  world, 
and  teach  all  nations,  baptizing  them  in  the  name  of  the  Father, 
and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  teaching  them  to  ob 
serve  all  things  whatsoever  I  have  commanded  you  ;"4  words 
from  which  we  may  learn  that  baptism  is  not  to  be  administered 
until,  at  least,  the  principal  truths  of  religion  are  explained. 
But  as  the  catechetical  form  consists  of  question  and  answer; 
if  the  person  to  be  instructed  be  an  adult,  he  himself  answers 
the  interrogatories;  if  an  infant,  the  sponsor  answers  according 
to  the  prescribed  form,  and  enters  into  a  solemn  engagement 
for  the  child. 

The  exor-        The  exorcism  comes  next  in  order :  it  consists  of  words  of 
cism-  sacred  and  religious  import,  and  of  prayers  ;    and  is  used  to 

expel  the  devil,  to  weaken  and  crush  his  power.     To  the  ex 
orcism  are  added  other  ceremonies,  each  of  which,  being  mys- 
The  salt,     tical,  has  its  clear  and  proper  signification.5     When,  for  in 
stance,  salt  is  put  into  the  mouth  of  the  person  to  be  baptized, 
it  evidently  imports,  that  by  the  doctrines  of  faith,  and  by  the 
gift  of  grace,  he  shall  be  delivered  from  the  corruption  of  sin, 
shall  experience  a  relish  for  good  works,  and  shall  be  nurtured 
The  sign  of  with  the  food  of  divine  wisdom.6     Again,  his  forehead,  eyes, 
th«  cross.     breast?  shoulders,  ears,  are  signed  with  the  sign  of  the  cross,  to 
declare,  that  by  the  mystery  of  baptism,  the  senses  of  the  per 
son  baptized  are  opened  and  strengthened,  to  enable  him  to 

;  Cypr  epist,  70.  item  Basil,  de  Spiritu  S.  c.  27.  et  de  consec.  dist.  4.  c.  in  Sabbato. 

2  Tertul.  de  corona  milit.  c.  3.  Cyril.  Hierosol.  Catech.  8. 

3  Clem.  Rom.  epist.  3.  Aug.  de  fide  et  oper.  c.  9. 
<  Mark  xvi.  15.    Matth.  xxviii.  19,  20. 

5  De  exorcismis  vide  Tertul.  de  prescript,  c.  41.  Cypr.  epist.  2.  Aug.  lib.  2.  de 
gratia  Dei  et  peccat.  orig.  cap.  40.  et  lib.  2.  de  Nupt.  et  concupis.  cap.  26.  optat.  lib. 
4.  contra  Parmenianum. 

6  Bed.  in  lib.  Esdrae,  c.  9.  Isid.  lib.  2.  de  offic.  eccl.  c.  20.  et  Aug.  lib.  1.  con 
fess,  c.  11 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism.  135 

receive  God,  and  to  understand  and  observe  his  commandments.1 
His  nostrils  and  ears  are  next  touched  with  spittle,  and  he  is  The  spittle. 
then  immediately  admitted  to  the  baptismal  font :  by  this  cere 
mony  we  understand  that,  as  sight  was  given  to  the  blind  man, 
mentioned  in  the  Gospel,  whom  the  Lord,  having  spread  clay 
on  his  eyes,  commanded  to  wash  them  in  the  waters  of  Siloe  ;* 
so  by  the  efficacy  of  holy  baptism,  a  light  is  let  in  on  the  mind, 
which  enables  it  to  discern  heavenly  truth.3 

After  the  performance  of  these  ceremonies,  the  person  to  be  n. 
baptized  approaches  the  baptismal  font,  at  which  are  performed 
other  rites  and  ceremonies,  which  present  a  summary  of  the 
obligations  imposed  by  the  Christian  religion.  In  three  distinct 
interrogatories,  he  is  formally  asked  by  the  minister  of  religion, 
"  dost  thou  renounce  Satan  ?"  "  and  all  his  works  ?"  "  and  all 
his  pomps  ?" — to  each  of  which  he,  or  the  sponsor  in  his  name, 
replies  in  the  affirmative.  Whoever,  then,  purposes  to  enlist 
under  the  standard  of  Christ,  must,  first  of  all,  enter  into  a  sa 
cred  and  solemn  engagement  to  renounce  the  devil  and  the 
world,  and,  as  his  worst  enemies,  to  hold  them  in  utter  detes 

He  is  next  anointed  with  the  oil  of  catechumens  on  the  The  oil  of 
breast  and  between  the  shoulders — on  the  breast,  that  by 
the  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost  he  may  lay  aside  error  and  igno 
rance,  and  receive  the  true  faith ;  for  "  the  just  man  liveth  by 
faith"5 — on  the  shoulders,  that  by  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit 
he  may  be  enabled  to  shake  off  negligence  and  torpor,  and  en 
gage  actively  in  the  performance  of  good  works ;  for  "  faith 
without  works  is  dead."0 

Next,  standing  at  the  baptismal  font,  he  is  interrogated  by  Theprofes 
the  minister  of  religion  in  these  words  :     "  Dost  thou  believe  *10"  °f 
in  God,  the  Father  Almighty?"  to  which  is  answered;   "I  be-    a 
lieve  ;"  a  like  interrogatory  is  proposed  with  regard  to  the  other 
articles  of  the  creed,  successively ;  and  thus  is  made  a  solemn 
professiqn  of  faith.     These  two  engagements,  the  renunciation 
of  Satan  and  all  his  works  and  pomps,  and  the  belief  of  all  the 
articles  of  the  creed,  including,  as  they  do,  both  faith  and  prac 
tice,  constitute,  it  is  clear,  the  whole  force  and  discipline  of  the 
law  of  Christ.7 

When  baptism  is  now  about  to  be  administered,  the  priest  Thewillof 
asks  him  if  he  will  be  baptized  ;  to  which  an  answer  in  the  affir-  the  person 
mative  being  given  by  him,  or,  if  an  infant,  by  the  sponsor,  the  t°zej  a^P" 
priest  performs  the  ablution,  "  in  the  name  of  the  Father,  and  ed,  and 
of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost."     As  man,  by  yielding  the  ^{^"j 
assent  of  hi-s  will  to  the  wicked  suggestions  of  Satan,  fell  under  baptism  is 

%  just  sentence  of  condemnation;  so  God  will  have  none  en-  administer 


1  De  signo  crucis  vide  Tertul.  lib.  de  result,  earn.  Basil,  lib.  de  spiritu  Sancto 
Chrys.  contra  gentes  et  alios.  2  John  ix.  7. 

3  De  saliva  Am.  lib.  1.  de  sacram.  1.  et  de  iis  qui  myst.  init.  c.  1.  et  de  consecr 
distinct  4.  c.  postea. 

4  Tertul.  lib.  de  coron.  mil.  c.  13.  et  de  spectac.r  4.  et  de  Idol.  c.  G.Cypr.  epist.  7. 54. 
s  Gal.  iii.  11.  6  James  ii.  26. 

'<  Cyril.  Hier.  Catech.  2  et  3. 



The  oil  of 

The  white 

The  burn 
ing  light. 

The  name, 
its  utility, 
its  selec 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

rolled  in  the  number  of  his  soldiers,  but  those  whose  service  is 
voluntary ;  that  by  a  willing  obedience  to  his  commands  they 
may  obtain  eternal  salvation. 

After  the  person  has  been  baptized,  the  priest  anoints  with 
chrism  the  crown  of  his  head,  thus  giving  him  to  understand, 
that  from  the  moment  of  his  baptism,  he  is  united  as  a  member 
to  Christ,  his  head,  and  ingrafted  on  his  body ;  and  that  he  is, 
therefore,  called  a  Christian,  from  Christ,  as  Christ  is  so  called 
from  Chrism.  What  the  Chrism  signifies,  the  prayers  offered 
by  the  priest,  as  St.  Ambrose  observes,  sufficiently  explain.1 

On  the  person  baptized  the  priest  then  puts  a  white  garment, 
saying,  "  receive  this  white  garment,  which  mayest  thou  carry 
unstained  before  the  judgment-seat  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ ; 
that  thou  mayest  have  eternal  life.  Amen."  Instead  of  a  white 
garment,  infants  because  not  formally  dressed,  receive  a  white 
kerchief,  accompanied  with  the  same  words.  According  to  the 
doctrine  of  the  Holy  Fathers  this  symbol  signifies  the  glory  of 
the  resurrection  to  which  we  are  born  by  baptism,  the  bright 
ness  and  beauty  with  which  the  soul,  when  purified  from  the 
stains  of  sin,  is  invested,  and  the  innocence  and  integrity  which 
the  person  who  has  received  baptism,  should  preserve  through 

To  signify  that  faith  received  in  baptism,  and  inflamed  by 
charity,  is  to  be  fed  and  augmented  by  the  exercise  of  good 
works,  a  burning  light  is  next  put  into  his  hand. 

Finally,  a  name  is  given,  which  should  be  taken  from  some 
person,  whose  eminent  sanctity  has  given  him  a  place  in  the 
catalogue  of  the  Saints  :  this  similarity  of  name  will  stimulate 
to  the  imitation  of  his  virtues  and  the  attainment  of  his  holiness ; 
and  we  should  hope  and  pray  that  he  who  is  the  model  of  our 
imitation,  may  also,  by  his  advocacy,  become  the  guardian  of 
our  safety  and  salvation.  Hence  we  cannot  mark  in  terms  too 
strong,  our  disapprobation  of  the  conduct  of  those  who,  with  a 
perverse  industry,  search  for,  and  whose  delight  it  is  to  distin 
guish  their  children  by,  the  names  of  heathens ;  and  what  is 
still  worse,  of  monsters  of  iniquity,  who,  by  their  profligate 
lives,  have  earned  an  infamous  notoriety.  By  such  conduct  they 
practically  prove,  how  little  they  regard  a  zeal  for  Christian  piety, 
who  so  fondly  cherish  the  memory  of  impious  men,  as  to  wish 
to  have  their  profane  names  continually  echo  in  the  ears  of  the 

This  exposition  of  baptism,  if  given  by  the  pastor,  will  be 
found  to  embrace,  almost  every  thing  of  importance,  which  re 
gards  this  Sacrament.  We  have  explained  the  meaning  of  the 
word  "  baptism,"  its  nature  and  substance,  and  also  the  parts  of 
which  it  is  composed — we  have  said  by  whom  it  was  instituted 

1  Lib.  1.  de  Sacram.  Dionys.  Eccl.  Hierar.  c.  3.  Cyril.  Hieros.  Catech.  3.  Basil 
lib.  de  Spiritu  gancto,  c.  27. 

2  Dionys.  locd  citato.  Amb.  de  iis  qui  myst.  init.  c.  8. 

3  De  hoc  cereo  vide  Gregor.  Nazian.  serm.  de  bapt.  Gregor.  Turon.  lib.  5.  cap 
11.  Niceph.  inst.  Eccle.  lie.  3.  c.  12. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation.  137 

— who  are  the  ministers  necessary  to  its  administration — who 
should  be,  as  it  were,  the  tutors,  whose  instructions  should  sus 
tain  the  weakness  of  the  person  baptized — to  whom  baptism 
should  be  administered,  and  how  they  should  be  disposed — what 
are  the  virtue  and  efficacy  of  the  Sacrament.  Finally,  we  have 
developed,  at  sufficient  length  for  our  purpose,  the  rites  and  cere 
monies  that  should  accompany  its  administration.  The  pastor 
will  recollect  that  all  these  instructions  have  principally  for  ob 
ject,  to  induce  the  faithful  to  direct  their  constant  attention  and 
solicitude  to  the  fulfilment  of  the  sacred  and  inviolable  engage 
ments  into  which  they  entered  at  the  baptismal  font,  and  to  lead 
lives  not  unworthy  the  sanctity  of  the  name  and  profession  of 


1  F  ever  there  was  a  time  that  demanded  the  assiduity  of  the  Urgent  ne- 
pastor  in  explaining  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation,  it  is  doubt-  cessity  of 
less  the  present,  when  there  are  found  in  the  Church  of  God  the  Sacra? 
many  by  whom  it  is  altogether  omitted ;  whilst  very  few  study  ment  of 
to  derive  from  it  the  fruit  of  divine  grace,  which  its  worthy  re-  confi.rma- 
ception  imparts.     That  this  divine  blessing,  therefore,  may  not  these  days 
seem  through  their  fault,  and  to  the  serious  injury  of  their  im 
mortal  souls,  to  have  been  conferred  in  vain,  the  faithful  are  to 
be  instructed,  on  Whitsunday,  and  on  such  other  days  as  the 
pastor  shall  deem  convenient,  in  the  nature,  efficacy,  and  dignity 
of  this  Sacrament ;  so  as  to  make  them  sensible  that  not  only  is 
it  not  to  be  neglected,  but  that  it  is  to  be  approached  with  the 
greatest  reverence  and  devotion. 

To  begin  therefore  with  its  name,  the  pastor  will  inform  the  Why  call 
faithful  that  this  Sacrament  is  called  Confirmation,  because,  if 
no  obstacle  is  opposed  to  its  efficacy,  the  person  who  receives 
it,  when  anointed  with  the  sacred  chrism  by  the  hand  of  the 
bishop,  who  accompanies  the  unction  with  these  words :  "  I 
sign  thee  with  the  sign  of  the  cross,  and  confirm  thee  with  the 
chrism  of  salvation,  in  the  name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son, 
and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,"  is  confirmed  in  strength  by  receiving 
new  virtue,  and  becomes  a  perfect  soldier  of  Christ.1 

That  confirmation  has  all  the  conditions  of  a  true  Sacrament  Cjnfiiroa- 
has  been  at  all  times,  the  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church,  as  tion  a  S*- 
Pope  Melchiades,3  and  many  other  very  holy  and  ancient  pon-  C1 
tiffs  expressly  declare.     The  truth  of  this  doctrine  St.  Clement 
could  not  have  confirmed  in  stronger  terms  than  when  he  says . 
"  All  should  hasten,  without  delay  to  be  born  again  to  God,  and 
then  to  be  sealed  by  the  bishop,  that  is,  to  receive  the  seven-fold 

1  Cone.  Aur.  c.  3,  item  Flor. 

2  Epist.  ad  Episcop.  Ilispau  c  2.  ep.  4,  ante  fmern. 

12*  S 

138  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost;  for,  as  we  have  learned  from  St.  Pe 
ter,  and  as  the  other  Apostles  taught  in  obedience  to  the  com 
mand  of  our  Lord,  he  who  contumeliously  and  not  from  neces 
sity,  but  voluntarily  neglects  to  receive  this  Sacrament,  cannot 
possibly  become  a  perfect  Christian."1  This  same  doctrine 
has  been  confirmed,  as  may  be  seen  in  their  decrees,  by  the 
Urbans,  the  Fabians,  the  Eusebius's,  pontiffs  who,  animated 
with  the  same  spirit,  shed  their  blood  for  the  name  of  Christ. 
It  is  also  fortified  by  the  unanimous  testimony  of  the  Fathers, 
amongst  whom  Denis  the  Areopagite,  bishop  of  Athens,  teach 
ing  how  to  consecrate  and  make  use  of  the  holy  ointment, 
says  :  "  The  priest  clothes  the  person  baptized  with  a  garment 
emblematic  of  his  purity,  in  order  to  conduct  him  to  the  bishop  ; 
and  the  bishop  signing  him  with  the  holy  and  divine  ointment, 
makes  him  partaker  of  the  most  holy  communion."3  Of  such 
importance  does  Eusebius  of  Csesarea  deem  this  Sacrament, 
that  he  hesitates  not  to  say,  that  the  heretic  Novatus  could  not 
receive  the  Holy  Ghost,  because,  having  received  baptism,  he 
was  not,  when  visited  by  severe  illness,  sealed  with  the  sign  of 
chrism.3  On  this  subject  we  might  adduce  testimonies  the 
most  conclusive  from  St.  Ambrose  in  his  book  on  the  Initiated,4 
and  from  St.  Augustine  in  his  works  against  the  epistles  of  the 
Donatist  Petilian :  so  convinced  were  they,  that  no  doubt  could 
exist  as  to  the  reality  of  this  Sacrament,  that  they  not  only 
taught  the  doctrine,  but  confirmed  its  truth  by  many  passages 
of  Scripture,  the  one  applying  to  it  these  words  of  the  Apostle : 
"  Grieve  not  the  Holy  Spirit  of  God,  whereby  you  are  sealed 
unto  the  day  of  redemption,"3  the  other,  these  words  of  the 
Psalmist :  "  like  the  precious  ointment  on  the  head,  that  ran 
down  upon  the  beard  of  Aaron,"8  and  also  these  words  of  the 
same  Apostle,  "  The  charity  of  God  is  poured  forth  in  our 
hearts  by  the  Holy  Ghost  who  is  given  to  us."7 

Confirma-        Confirmation,  although  said  by  Melchiades  to  have  a  most  in- 
tireVdiffe-  tiniate  connexion  with  baptism,8  is  yet  an  entirely  different  Sa- 
rent  from     crament :  the  diversity  of  the  grace  which  each  Sacrament  con- 
baptism.      fers?  an(]  the  diversity  of  the  external  sign  employed  to  signify 
that  grace,  obviously  constitute  them  different  Sacraments.     As 
by  the  grace  of  baptism  we  are  begotten  to  newness  of  life,  and 
by  that  of  confirmation   grow   to  full   maturity,  "  having  put 
away  the  things  of  a  child,"9  we  can  hence  sufficiently  compre 
hend  that  the  same  difference  which  exists  in  the  natural  order 
between  birth  and  growth,  exists  also  in  the  supernatural,  be- 

1  Habes  decreta  horum  Pontificum  de  consecrat  dist.  5. 

2  S.  Dionysius  de  Eccles.  Hierar.  c.  2.  3  Lib.  6.  histor.  cap.  43. 
4  Lib.  de  iis  qui  myst.  initiantur.  c.  7,  lib.  2,  c.  104. 

6  Eph.  iv.  30.  6  Psalm  cxxxii.  2. 

7  Rom.  v.  5. — Confirmationem  esse  sacramentum  habes  insuper  ex  Ambros.  de 
Sacr.  lib.  3,  c.  2,  lib.  de  Spiritu  Sancto,  c.  6  et  7,  item  Aug.  de  Trinit  lib.  15,  c.  26,  et 
in  epist.  Joan  tract  3  et  6,  et  in  Psalmis  26,  et  ante  hos  omnes. — Tertul.  lib.  de  Re- 
surr.  car.  Cypr.  epist  7.— Origen,  horn.  9,  in  Levit  Hieron.  contr.  Lucif.  Cyril 
Hieros.  Catech.  3. 

»  Epist  ad  Episc.  Ilisp.  in  med.  9  1  Cor.  xii  11 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation.  139 

ween  baptism  which  regenerates,  and  confirmation  which  im- 
jarts  full  growth  and  perfect  spiritual  strength. 

Again,  if  the  new  difficulties  which  the  soul  has  to  encoun-  u. 
er,  demand  the  aid  of  a  new  and  distinct  Sacrament,  it  is  ob- 
dous  that  as  we  have  occasion  for  the  grace  of  baptism  to  stamp 
ipon  the  soul  the  impress  of  the  true  faith,  so  it  is  of  the  ut- 
nost  advantage  that  a  new  grace  fortify  us  with  such  intrepidity 
>f  soul,  that  no  danger,  no  dread  of  pains,  tortures,  death,  have 
lower  to  deter  us  from  the  profession  of  the  true  faith.  Hence, 
Pope  Melchiades  marks  the  difference  between  them  with  mi- 
lute  accuracy  in  these  terms :  "  In  baptism,"  says  he,  "  the 
Christian  is  enlisted  into  the  service,  in  confirmation  he  is 
:quipped  for  battle ;  at  the  baptismal  font  the  Holy  Ghost  im- 
jarts  the  plenitude  of  innocence,  in  confirmation  the  perfection 
)f  grace ;  in  baptism  we  are  regenerated  to  life,  after  baptism 
we  are  fortified  for  the  combat ;  in  baptism  we  are  cleansed  in 
:onfirmation  we  are  strengthened ;  regeneration  saves  by  its 
)wn  efficacy  those  who  receive  baptism  in  peace,  confirmation 
irms  and  prepares  for  the  conflict."1  These  are  truths  not  only  re- 
;orded  by  other  Councils,  but  specially  denned  by  the  Council 
)f  Trent,  and  we  are  therefore  no  longer  at  liberty  not  only  to  dis 
sent  from,  but  even  to  entertain  the  least  doubt  regarding  them.3 

But,  to  impress  the  faithful  with  a  deeper  sense  of  the  sane-  Instituted 
ity  of  this  Sacrament,  the  pastor  will  make  known  to  them  by  by  Cnnst- 
whom  it  was  instituted ;  a  knowledge  the  importance  of  which 
h  regard  to  all  the  Sacraments,  we  have  already  pointed  out. 
:Ie  will,  accordingly,  inform  them  that  not  only  was  it  instituted 
jy  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  but  as  St.  Fabian  Bishop  of  Rome 
estifies,  the  chrism  and  the  words  used  in  its  administration 
were  also  appointed  by  him  :  a  fact  of  easy  proof  to  those  who 
relieve  confirmation  to  be  a  Sacrament,  for  all  the  sacred  myste- 
•ies  are  beyond  the  power  of  man,  and  could  have  been  insti 
tuted  by  God  alone.3 

Of  the  component  parts  of  the  Sacrament,  and,  first,  of  its  Its  matter, 
matter,  we  now  come  to  treat.  The  matter  of  confirmation  is  ^lirism- 
chrism,  a  word  borrowed  from  the  Greek  language,  and  which, 
although  used  by  profane  writers  to  designate  any  sort  of  oint- 
nent,  is  appropriated,  by  ecclesiastical  usage,  to  signify  ointment 
composed  of  oil  and  balsam,  and  solemnly  consecrated  by  the 
piscopal  benediction.  A  mixture  of  oil  and  balsam,  therefore, 
constitutes  the  matter  of  confirmation  ;  and  this  mixture  of  dif- 
erent  elements  at  once  expresses  the  manifold  graces  of  the 
Holy  Ghost,  and  the  excellence  of  this  sacrament.  That  such 
s  its  matter  the  Church  and  her  councils  have  uniformly  taught ; 
and  the  same  doctrine  has  been  handed  down  to  us  by  .St.  De 
nis,  and  by  many  other  fathers  of  authority  too  great  to  be  ques 
tioned,  particularly  by  Pope  Fabian,4  who  testifies  that  the 
Apostles  received  the  composition  of  chrism  from  our  Lord,  and 

1  Loco  citato. 

2  Laod.  can.  48,  Meld.  c.  6.  Florent.  et  Constant.  Trid.  sess.  7. 

3  Epist.  2,  initio.  *  Epist.  3.  ad  Kpisc.  Orient 

140  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Propriety  transmitted  it  to  us.1  To  declare  the  effects  of  Confirmation, 
as^tTraat-  no  sacramental  matter  could  have  been  more  appropriate  than 
ter.  chrism  :  oil,  by  its  nature  unctuous  and  fluid,  expresses  the  pie 

nitude  of  divine  grace  which  flows  from  Christ  the  head,  througn 
the  Holy  Ghost,  and  is  poured  out,  "  like  the  precious  oint 
ment  on  the  head,  that  ran  down  upon  the  beard  of  Aaron,  to 
the  skirt  of  his  garment;"2  for  "God  anointed  him  withtheoil  of 
gladness,  above  his  fellows,"3  and  "  of  his  fulness  we  all  have 
received."4  Balsam,  too,  the  odour  of  which  is  most  grateful, 
signifies  that  the  faithful,  made  perfect  by  the  grace  of  Confirm 
ation,  diffuse  around  them,  by  reason  of  their  many  virtues,  such 
a  sweet  odour  that  they  may  truly  say  with  the  Apostle  ;  "  We 
are  the  good  odour  of  Christ  unto  God."5  Balsam  has  also  the 
quality  of  preserving  incorrupt  whatever  it  embalms  ;  a  quality 
well  adapted  to  express  the  virtue  of  this  Sacrament;  prepared 
by  the  heavenly  grace  infused  in  Confirmation,  the  souls  of  the 
faithful  may  be  easily  preserved  from  the  corruption  of  sin. 
Chrism,  The  chrism  is  consecrated  with  solemn  ceremonies,  by  the 

crated^aml  bishop.  That  this  its  solemn  consecration  is  in  accordance  with 
by  bishops  the  instructions  of  our  Lord,  when  at  his  last  supper  he  cora- 
only-  mitted  to  his  Apostles  the  manner  of  making  chrism,  we  learn 

from  Pope  Fabian,  a  man  eminently  distinguished  by  his  sanc 
tity,  and  by  the  glory  of  martyrdom.8  Indeed,  reason  alone 
demonstrates  the  propriety  of  this  consecration  ;  for  in  most  of 
the  other  sacraments,  Christ  so  instituted  the  matter  as  to  im 
part  to  it  holiness ;  it  was  not  only  his  will  that  water  should 
constitute  the  matter  of  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism,  when  he 
said  :  "  Unless  a  man-  be  born  again  of  water  and  the  Holy 
Ghost,  he  cannot  enter  the  kingdom  of  God  ;"7  but  he  also,  at 
his  own  baptism,  imparted  to  it  the  power  of  sanctifying  ; 
"The  water  of  baptism,"  says  St.  Chrysostome,  "  had  it  not 
been  sanctified  by  contact  with  the  body  of  our  Lord,  could  not 
cleanse  the  sins  of  believers."8  As,  therefore,  our  Lord  did  not 
consecrate  by  using  the  matter  of  confirmation,  it  becomes  ne 
cessary  to  consecrate  it  by  holy  and  devout  prayer,  which  is  the 
exclusive  prerogative  of  bishops,  who  are  constituted  the  ordi 
nary  ministers  of  this  Sacrament. 

Form  of  The  other  component  part  of  this  Sacrament,  that  is  to  say, 
menurf  ™~  *ts  f°rm>  comes  next  to  be  explained.  The  faithful  are  to  be 
Confirma-  admonished  that  when  receiving  Confirmation,  they  are,  on 
•don.  hearing  the  words  pronounced  by  the  bishop,  earnestly  to  ex 

cite  themselves  to  sentiments  of  piety,  faith,  and  devotion,  that 
on  their  part  no  obstacle  may  be  opposed  to  the  heavenly  grace 
of  the  Sacrament.  The  form  of  Confirmation  consists  of  these 

1  Vid.  Aug.  in  Ps.  44.  vers.  9.  et  lib.  13.  de  Trinit.  cap.  26.  Greg,  in  1.  cap.  can. 
Cone.  Laod.  cap,  48.  et  Carth.  2  c.  2.  et3.  c.  39.  Dionys.  de  Eccl.  Hierar.  c.  2.  et  4 
De  oleo  vide  Ambr.  in  Ps.  118  et  lib.  de  Spiritu  Sancto,  cap.  3.  Cyprian  Epist  70 

2  Ps.  cxxxii.  2.  s  Ps.  xliv.  8.  4  John  i.  16.  s  2  Cor.  ii.  15. 
6  S.  Fab.  papa,  uti  supra.                            7  John  iii.  5. 

8  Horn.  4.  oper.  imperf.  et  habetur  de  consec.  disk  4.  c.  Nunquid. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation.  141 

Were  we  to  acknowledge  the  incompetency  of  reason  to  esta 
blish  the  truth  and  strict  propriety  of  this  form,  the  authority 
of  the  Catholic  Church,  by  which  it  has  been  at  all  times  taught 
and  recognised,  would  alone  be  sufficient  to  dispel  all  doubt  on 
the  subject:  judging  of  it,  however,  by  the  standard  of  reason, 
we  arrive  at  the  same  conclusion.  The  form  of  the  Sacrament 
should  embrace  whatever  is  necessary  to  explain  its  nature  and 
substance ;  with  regard  to  the  nature  and  substance  of  Con 
firmation,  there  are  three  things  that  demand  particular  atten 
tion,  the  divine  power,  which,  as  a  primary  cause,  operates  in 
the  Sacrament ;  the  spiritual  strength  which  it  imparts  to  the 
faithful  unto  salvation ;  and  lastly,  the  sign  impressed  on  him 
who  is  to  engage  in  the  warfare  of  Christ.  The  words  "  in  the 
name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost," 
with  which  the  form  closes,  sufficiently  declare  the  first ;  the 
second  is  comprised  in  the  words,  "  I  confirm  thee  with  the 
chrism  of  salvation ;  and  the  words,  "  I  sign  thee  with  the  sign 
of  the  cross,"  with  which  the  form  opens,  convey  the  third. 

To  whom  principally,  is  intrusted  the  administration  of  this  The  bishop 
Sacrament,  is  a  matter  to  which  the  pastor  will  also  call  the  at-  «r  ordinary 
tention  of  the  faithful.  There  are  many,  according  to  the  pro-  '  <IUS 
phet,  who  run  and  yet  are  not  sent;  and  hence  the  necessity  of 
informing  the  faithful  who  are  its  true  and  legitimate  ministers, 
in  order  that  they  may  really  receive  the  Sacrament  and  grace 
of  Confirmation.1  That  bishops  alone  are  the  ordinary  minis 
ters  of  this  sacrament,  is  the  doctrine  of  Scripture ;  we  read  in 
the  Acts  of  the  Apostles,  that  when  Samaria  had  received  the 
Gospel,  Peter  and  John  were  sent  to  them  and  prayed  for  them, 
lhat  they  might  receive  the  Holy  Ghost ;  "  for  he  was  not  yet 
come  upon  any  of  them,  but  they  were  only  baptized,  in  the 
name  of  the  Lord  Jesus."3  Here  we  find  that  he  who  admi 
nistered  baptism,  having  only  attained  the  degree  of  deacon, 
had  no  power  to  administer  confirmation  ;  its  administration  was 
reserved  to  a  more  elevated  order  of  the  ministry,  that  is,  to  the 
Apostles  alone.  Whenever  the  sacred  Scriptures  speak  of  this 
Sacrament,  they  convey  to  us  the  same  truth.  We  have  also 
the  clearest  testimony  of  the  Fathers,  and,  as  may  be  seen  in 
the  decrees  of  their  Popes,  of  Urban,  of  Eusebius,  of  Damasus, 
of  Innocent,  and  of  Leo.  In  confirmation  of  the  same  doctrine, 
we  may  also  add  that  St.  Augustine  loudly  complains  of  the  cor 
rupt  practice  which  prevailed  in  the  Churches  of  Egypt  and 
Alexandria  in  his  day,  a  practice  according  to  which  priests 
presumed  to  administer  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation."3 

1  Trid.  Sess.  23.  c.  4.  et  can.  7.  2  Acts  viii,  14.  16. 

3  Episcopum  ministrum  esse  ordinarium  Confirmationis  tradunt  Urbanus  Papa 
Epist.  ad  omnes  Christianos  in  fine  ;  Eusebius  Papa  Epist.  3.  ad  Episcop.  Tusciee 
et  Campaniee  Damasus  Papa,  Epist,  4.  ad  Pros,  et  easterns  Episc.  Orthod.  circa 
med.  Innocentius  Papa  Epist.  1.  ad  Veren.  c.  3.  Leo  Papa  Epist.  88.  ad  German® 
et  Gallic.  Episc.  Melchiades  Papa,  Epist,  ad  Episc.  Hispaniae.  Clemens  item  Papa, 


of  restrict 
ing  Confir 
mation  to 

A  sponsor 
and  why. 

quent  affi 

The  faith 
ful  to  be  in 
etructed  in 
the  age  and 
for  Confir 

tion  insti 
tuted  for 
the  use  of 
all  the 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

To  illustrate  the  propriety  of  restricting  the  exercise  of  this 
function  to  the  episcopal  office,  the  following  comparison  may 
be  found  not  inappropriate.  As  in  the  construction  of  an  edifies, 
the  artisans,  who  are  inferior  agents,  prepare  and  dispose  mor 
tar,  lime,  timber,  and  the  other  materials  ;  whilst,  however,  the 
completion  of  the  work  belongs  to  the  architect;  so  in  like  man 
ner  should  Confirmation,  which  is  as  it  were  the  completion  of 
the  spiritual  edifice,  be  administered  by  no  other  than  episcopal 

In  Confirmation,  as  in  Baptism,  a  sponsor  is  required.  If 
the  gladiator  who  presents  himself  as  a  combatant,  has  occa 
sion  for  the  skill  and  address  of  a  master,  to  direct  him  by  what 
thrusts  and  passes  he  may,  without  endangering  his  own  safety, 
despatch  his  antagonist,  how  much  more  necessary  to  the  faith 
ful  is  a  guide  and  instructer,  when,  sheathed  as  it  were  in  the 
panoply  of  this  sacrament,  they  engage  in  the  spiritual  conflict, 
in  which  eternal  salvation  is  to  reward  the  success  of  the  victor. 
Sponsors  therefore  are,  with  great  propriety,  required  in  the  ad 
ministration  of  this  Sacrament  also ;  and  the  same  affinity 
which,  as  we  have  already  shown,  is  contracted  in  Baptism, 
impeding  the  lawful  manage  of  the  parties,  is  also  contracted 
in  Confirmation.1 

To  pass  over  in  silence  those  who  have  arrived  at  such  a 
degree  of  impiety,  as  to  have  the  hardihood  to  contemn  and 
despise  this  Sacrament ;  since  in  receiving  Confirmation  it  fre 
quently  happens,  that  the  faithful  betray  inconsiderate  precipi- 
*tion  or  unpardonable  neglect,  it  is  the  duty  of  the  pastor  to 
make  known  the  age  and  dispositions  which  its  sanctity  de 

They  are,  in  the  first  place,  to  be  informed  that  this  Sacra 
ment  is  not  essential  to  salvation ;  but  that  although  not  essen 
tial,  it  is  not  therefore  to  be  omitted  :  on  the  contrary,  in  a  mat 
ter  so  holy,  through  which  the  gifts  of  God  are  so  liberally 
bestowed,  the  greatest  care  should  be  taken  to  avoid  all  neglect ; 
and  what  God  proposed  for  the  common  sanctification  of  all,  all 
should  desire  with  intense  earnestness.8  Describing  this  admira 
ble  effusion  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  St.  Luke  says :  "  And  suddenly 
there  came  a  sound  from  heaven,  as  of  a  mighty  wind  coming,  and 
it  filled  the  whole  house,  where  they  were  sitting:"  and  a  little 
after,  "  and  they  were  all  filled  with  the  Holy  Ghost."3  From 
these  words  we  may  infer,  that  as  the  house  in  which  they  were 
assembled,  was  a  type  and  figure  of  the  church,  the  Sacrament 
of  Confirmation,  which  had  its  existence  for  the  first  time  on 
that  day,  is  intended  for  the  use  of  all  the  faithful.  This  is  also 
an  easy  inference  from  the  nature  of  the  Sacrament:  Confir- 

Epist  4.  Concil  Wormaciense,  c.  8.  et  Florent  de  Sacram.  Horum  summorum 
Pontificum  Epist.  habentur  in  tomis  Conciliorum  fere  omnes  in  primo  juxta  cujus- 
que  fEtatem.  Vide  insuper  August,  in  qusest.  novi  Testam.  quacsL  42. 

1  Trid.  Sess.  24.  c.  2.  de  reform,  matrim. 

2  De  consec.  dist  5.  c.  2.  et  3.  item  Cone.  Aurel.  c.  3.  Hugo  de  sanct  Viet,  de 
Sncram.  lib.  2.  f  7.  c.  39  3  Acts  ii.  2.  4. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation.  143 

mation  is  necessary  for  those  who  have  occasion  for  spiritual 
increase,  and  hope  to  arrive  at  religious  perfection  ;  but  to  this 
all  should  aspire,  for  as  Nature  intends  that  all  her  children 
should  grow  up  and  reach  full  maturity,  although  her  wishes 
are  not  always  realized ;  so  it  is  the  earnest  desire  of  the  Ca 
tholic  Church,  the  common  mother  of  all,  that  those  whom  she 
has  regenerated  by  Baptism,  may  be  brought  to  perfect  matu 
rity  in  Christ.  This  happy  consummation  can  be  accomplished 
only  through  the  mystic  unction  of  Confirmation ;  and  hence 
it  is  clear,  that  this  Sacrament  is  equally  intended  for  all  the 

•It  is  to  be  observed,  that  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation  may  The  proper 
be  administered  to  all,  as  soon  as  they  have  been  baptized  ;  but,  ase  forito 
until  children  shall  have  reached  the  use  of  reason,  its  adminis 
tration  is  inexpedient.     If  not  postponed  to  the  age  of  twelve, 
it  should  therefore  be  deferred  until  at  least  that  of  seven.    Con 
firmation  has  not  been  instituted  as  necessary  to  salvation  ;  but 
to  enable  us  to  be  armed  and  prepared,  whenever  we  may  be 
called  upon,  to  fight  for  the  faith  of  Christ ;  and  for  this   con 
flict  no  one  will  consider  children,  not  yet  arrived  at  the  use  of 
reason,  fit  subjects. 

From  what  has  been  said,  it  follows,  that  persons  of  mature  Disposi- 
years  who  are  to  be  confirmed,  must,  if  they  hope  to  receive  t'ons.  for  ra 
the  grace  of  this  Sacrament,  not  only  bring  with  them  faith  and  wdrth-fy' 
devotion,  but  also  be  pierced  with  heartfelt  compunction  for  the 
grievous  sins  into  which  they  may  have  had  the  misfortune  to 
fall.     The  pastor,  therefore,  will  labour  to  induce  them  to  have 
previous  recourse  to  the  tribunal  of  penance,  will  endeavour  to 
excite  them  to  fasting  and  other  exercises  of  devotion,  and  will 
exhort  them  to  the  revival  of  that  laudable  practice  of  the  ancient 
Church,  of  receiving  the  Sacrament  of  confirmation  fasting.1 
To  induce  the  faithful  to  enter  into  these  dispositions  would 
appear  no  difficult  task,  if  they  but  learn  to  appreciate  the  bless- 
mgs  and  extraordinary  effects  which  flow  from  this  Sacrament. 

The  pastor  therefore  will  teach,  that  in  common  with  the  Effects  of 
other  sacraments,  Confirmation,  unless  some  obstacle  be  op-  confirnia- 
posed  by  the  receiver,  imparts  new  grace.     We  have  already   "  '  j. 
shown,  that  it  is  the  property  of  these  sacred  and  mystic  signs, 
at  once  to  indicate  and  produce  grace ;  and  as  we  cannot  ima 
gine  grace  and  sin  to  coexist  in  the  soul,  it  follows,  as  a  neces 
sary  consequence,  that  it  also  remits  sin. 

Besides  these  properties,  common  alike  to  this  and  the  other  II 
Sacraments,  it  is  the  peculiar  characteristic  of  confirmation  to 
perfect  the  grace  of  baptism :  those  who  are  initiated  into  the 
Christian  religion,  share,  as  it  were,  the  tenderness  and  infirmity 
of  new-born  infants  ;  but  they  afterwards  gather  strength  from 
the  Sacrament  of  chrism,  to  combat  the  assaults  of  the  world, 
the  flesh,  and  the  devil,  and  are  confirmed  in  faith  to  confess 
and  glorify  the  name  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  From  this  last 

1  D.  Th.  p.  3.  q.  72.  a.  ad.  2  Cone.  Aur.  c.  2. 

144  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

mentioned  circumstance  it  arose,  no  doubt,  that  the  Sacrament 
An  error  was  distinguished  by  the  name  of  confirmation.  This  its  name 
refuted.  is  not,  as  some  with  equal  ignorance  and  impiety  have  imagin 
ed,  derived  from  the  supposed  circumstance  of  baptized  persons, 
when  grown  to  maturity,  formerly  presenting  themselves  before 
the  bishop  to  confirm  their  adherence  to  the  faith  of  Christ, 
which  they  had  embraced  in  baptism ;  an  opinion,  according 
to  which,  confirmation  would  not  seem  to  differ  from  cateche 
tical  instruction.  Of  such  a  practice  no  proof  can  be  adduced, 
no  vestige  traced ;  and  this  sacrament  is  called  Confirmation, 
because  by  virtue  of  it,  God  confirms  in  us  what  was  com 
menced  in  baptism,  and  conducts  to  the  perfection  of  solid 
Christian  virtue.1 

III.  Not  only  does  this  Sacrament  confirm ;  it  also  increases  di 

vine  grace  in  the  soul :  "The  Holy  Ghost,"  says  Melchiades, 
"  who  descends  with  salutary  influence  on  the  waters  of  bap 
tism,  imparts  the  plenitude  of  grace  to  innocence  :  in  confirma 
tion,  the  same  Holy  Ghost  gives  an  increase  of  divine  grace, 
and  not  only  an  increase,  but  an  increase  after  a  wonderful  man 
ner.3  This  extraordinary  efficacy  of  confirmation,  the  Scrip 
tures  beautifully  express  by  a  metaphor :  "  stay  you  in  the 
city,"  says  our  Lord  speaking  of  this  Sacrament,  "  until  you  be 
indued  with  power  from  on  high."3 

.is  efficacy  To  show  the  divine  efficacy  of  this  Sacrament,  (and  this,  no 
illustrated,  doubt,  will  have  great  influence  on  the  minds  of  the  faithful) 
the  pastor  has  only  occasion  to  explain  the  effects  which  it  pro 
duced  on  the  Apostles  themselves.  Before,  and  even  at  the 
very  time  of  the  passion,  so  weak  and  listless  were  they,  that 
no  sooner  was  our  Lord  apprehended,  than  they  all  fled  ;4  and 
Peter,  who  was  destined  to  be  the  rock  and  foundation  of  the 
Church,  and  who  had  displayed  an  unshaken  constancy,  and 
an  intrepid  spirit  to  be  dismayed  by  the  appearance  of  no  dan 
ger,5  was  so  terrified  at  the  voice  of  one  weak  woman,  as  to 
deny  once,  and  again,  and  a  third  time,  that  he  was  a  disciple 
of  Jesus  Christ.8  Even  after  the  resurrection  they  remained, 
through  fear  of  the  Jews,  shut  up  in  a  house,  the  doors  being 
closed.7  But  how  extraordinary  the  revolution  !  On  the  day 
of  Pentecost,  filled  with  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  they  fear 
lessly,  and  in  defiance  of  all  danger,  proclaim  the  Gospel,  not 
only  through  Judea,  but  throughout  the  world  ;8  they  deem  it 
the  greatest  happiness,  to  be  thought  worthy  to  suffer  contumely, 
chains,  tortures,  and  crucifixion  itself,  for  the  name  of  Christ.9 
IV  Confirmation  has  also  the  effect  of  impressing  a  character  ; 

and  hence,  as  we  said  before,  with  regard  to  baptism,  and  as 
will  be  more  fully  explained  in  its  proper  place,  with  regard  to 

'  Trid.  Sess.  7.  can.  1  de  confir. 

2  De  cons.  dist.  5  c.  Spiritus.  Euseb.  Emis.  horn,  in  die  Pent. 

3  Luke  xxiv.  49.  4  Matth.  xxvi.  56. 

s  Matth.  xvi.  18—26.  51.  6  Matth.  xxvi.  70.  i2.  74. 

7  John  xx.  19.  SActsii.1. 

9  Acts  v.  41. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation.  145 

orders,  it  is  on  no  account  to  be  administered  a  second  time. 
If  these  things  are  frequently  and  accurately  explained,  it  is  al 
most  impossible  that  the  faithful,  knowing  the  utility  and  dig 
nity  of  this  Sacrament,  should  not  use  every  exertion  to  receive 
it  with  piety  and  devotion.1 

The  rites  and  ceremonies  used  in  the  administration  of  this  Itsritesand 
Sacrament,  now  remain  lightly  to  be  glanced  at :  the  advantages  of  ceremonies 
this  explanation  the  pastor  will  at  once  see,  by  reverting  to  what  exp  ai 
we  have  already  said  on  this  subject,  in  its  proper  place.     The  Unction  of 
forehead  of  the  person  to  be  confirmed  is  anointed  with  sacred  the  fore- 
chrism ;  for  in  this  Sacrament  the  Holy  Spirit  pours  himself 
into  the  souls  of  the  faithful,   and  imparts  to  them  increased 
strength  and  courage,  to  enable  them  in  the  spiritual  contest,  to 
fight  manfully,  and  to  resist  successfully  their  most  implacable 
foes.     They  are  therefore  told,  that  henceforward,  they  are  not 
to  be  deterred  by  fear  or  shame,  feelings  of  which  the  counte 
nance  is  the  principal  index,  from  the  open  confession  of  the 
name  of  Christ.9     Besides,  the  mark  by  which  the  Christian  is  sign  of  u>e 
distinguished  from  all  others,  as  the  soldier  is  distinguished  by  cross- 
his  peculiar  military  badges,  should  be  impressed  on  the  fore 
head,  the  most  dignified  and  conspicuous  part  of  the   human 

The  festival  of  Pentecost  was  also  chosen  for  its  solemn  ad-  Whyadmi- 
ministration,  because  the  Apostles  were  then  strengthened  and  nisteredat 
confirmed  by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost  ;3  and  also  to  remind 
the  faithful,  by  the  recollection  of  that  supernatural  event,  of 
the  number  and  magnitude  of  the  mysteries  contained  in  that 
sacred  unction. 

The  person,  when  confirmed,  receives  a  gentle  slap  on  the  The  gentle 
cheek  from  the  hand  of  the  bishop,  to  remind   him,  that  as  a  sl^P  "n  the 
courageous  champion,  he  should  be  prepared  to  brave  with  un- 
conquered  resolution,  all  adversities  for  the  name  of  Christ. 

Finally,  he  receives  the  kiss  of  peace,  to  give  him  to  under-  The  kiss  of 
stand  that  he  has  been  blessed  with  the  fulness  of  divine  grace,  Veacc- 
and  with  that  "peace  which   surpasseth   all  understanding."* 
These  things  will  be  found  to  contain  a  summary  of  the  expo 
sition  to  be  given  by  the  pastor  on  the  Sacrament  of  confirma 
tion  ;  but  let  them  be  delivered,  not  so  much  in  the  cold  language 
of  formal  instruction,  as  in  the  burning  accents  of  fervent  piety ; 
so  as  to  penetrate  into  the  minds,  arid  inflame  the  hearts  of  the 

1  Confirmationem  non  esse  iterandam,  vide  de  Consec.  dist.  5.  c.  dictum  est,  ot 
cap.  de  horn.  D.  Thorn,  p.  3.  q.  72.  art.  5. 

2  Rhaban.  lib.  1.  de  itistiL  cleric,  c.  30.  et  habetur  de  consec.  dist.  5,  c.  noviss 
Aug.  in  Ps.  141,  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  71.  art.  9. 

3  Acts  ii.  2.  i  Phil.  iv.  7. 

13  T 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  T«ent. 


Dignity  of 
the  Eucha 
rist,  matter 
of  frequent 
to  deter 
from  its 

Its  institu 

Why  call 
ed  "  the 

OF  all  the  sacred  mysteries  bequeathed  to  us  by  our  Lord,  as 
unfailing  sources  of  grace,  there  is  none  that  can  be  compared 
to  the  most  holy  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist ;  for  no  crime, 
therefore,  is  there  reserved  by  God  a  more  terrible  vengeance 
than  for  the  sacrilegious  abuse  of  this  adorable  Sacrament, 
which  is  replete  with  holiness  itself.1  The  Apostle,  illumined 
with  wisdom  from  above,  clearly  saw  and  emphatically  an 
nounced  these  awful  consequences,  when  having  declared  the 
enormity  of  their  guilt,  "  who  discern  not  the  body  of  the  Lord," 
he  immediately  added,  "  therefore  are  there  many  infirm  and 
weak  among  you,  and  many  sleep."3  That  the  faithful,  there 
fore,  deeply  impressed  with  the  divine  honour  due  to  this  hea 
venly  Sacrament,  may  derive  from  its  participation,  abundant 
fruit  of  grace,  and  escape  the  just  anger  of  God,  the  pastor  will 
explain  with  indefatigable  diligence,  all  those  things  which 
seem  best  calculated  to  display  its  majesty. 

Following  the  example  of  St.  Paul,  who  declares  to  the  Co 
rinthians  what  he  had  received  from  the  Lord,  the  pastor  will 
begin  by  explaining  to  the  faithful  the  circumstances  of  its  insti 
tution  :  these  he  will  find  thus  clearly  recorded  by  the  Evange 
list — our  Lord,  who  "having  loved  his  own,  loved  them  to  the 
end,"3  to  give  them  some  admirable  and  divine  pledge  of  this 
his  love,  aware  that  the  hour  was  come  when  he  should  pass 
out  of  this  world  to  the  Father,  by  an  effect  of  wisdom  which 
transcends  the  order  of  nature,  devised  a  means  of  being  always 
present  with  his  own.  Having  celebrated  the  feast  of  the  pas 
chal  lamb  with  his  disciples,  that  the  figure  might  give  way  to 
the  reality,  the  shadow  to  the  substance,  "  Jesus  took  bread, 
and  giving  thanks  to  God,  blessed  and  brake,  and  gave  to  his 
disciples,  and  said,  take  ye  and  eat :  This  is  my  body,  which 
shall  be  delivered  for  you  :  this  do  for  the  commemoration  of 
me :  and  taking  the  chalice  also  after  he  had  supped,  he  said, 
this  chalice  is  the  New  Testament  in  my  blood :  this  do,  as 
often  as  you  shall  drink  it  in  commemoration  of  me."4 

Satisfied  that  language  could  supply  no  one  word  sufficiently 

„  comprehensive  to  give  full  expression  to  the  dignity  and  excel- 

"  lence  of  this  Sacrament,  sacred  writers   have   endeavoured  to 

express  it  by  a  variety  of  appellations.     It  is  sometimes  called 

"  The  Eucharist,"  a  word  which  may  be  translated,  "  the  good 

grace,"  or  "  the  thanksgiving  :"  the  propriety  of  the  one  appears 

from  two  considerations  :  the  Eucharist  gives  a  foretaste  of  eter- 

1  Dionys.  de  Eccl.  Hier.  c.  6.  et  de  consec.  dist.  c.  2.  nihil  in. 

2  j  Q,r  xj  30  3  John  xiii.  1. 

4  Matth.  xxvi.2G.  Mark  xiv.  22.  Luke  xxii.  19.  1  Cor. xi. 24.  De Euch,  insti 
tutione  vide  Trid.  Sess.  13,  c.  2,  de  Euch.  Leo  serm.  7,  de  Pass.  c.  3,  Luseb.  Emiss 
bom.  4,  ct  habetur  de  consec.  dist  2.  1.  quin  corpus. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  147 

rial  life,  of  which  it  is  written :  "  The  grace  of  God  is  life  ever 
lasting:"1  it  also  contains  Christ  our  Lord,  the  true  grace,  and 
the  source  of  all  heavenly  gifts.  The  other  translation  is  no  less 
appropriate,  for  when  we  offer  this  most  spotless  victim,  we 
render  to  God  a  homage  of  infinite  value,  in  return  for  all  the 
benefits  which  we  have  received  from  his  bounty,  particu 
larly  for  the  inestimable  treasure  of  grace  bestowed  on  us 
in  this  Sacrament.  The  word  "  thanksgiving,"  also  accords 
with  the  conduct  of  our  Lord,  when  instituting  this  mystery : 
"Taking  bread,  he  brake  it,  and  gave  thanks"*  David  too, 
contemplating  the  grandeur  of  this  mystery,  says,  "  He  hath 
made  a  remembrance  of  his  wonderful  works,  being  a  merciful 
and  gracious  Lord  :  he  hath  given  food  to  them  that  fear  him  ;"3 
but  he  had  premised  these  words  of  thanksgiving :  "  His  work 
is  praise  and  magnificence."4 

It  is  also  frequently  called  "The  Sacrifice,"  of  which  we  The  Eu- 
shall  treat  more  at  large  in  the  subsequent  part  of  this  exposi-  charist  de- 
tion.     It  is  also  called  "  Communion,"  a  word  borrowed  from  bfmh'er 
the  Apostle,  when  he  says  :  "  The  chalice  of  benediction  which  appella- 
we  bless,   is   it  not  the  communion  of  the  blood  of  Christ?  tio.s :  ,", pa" 
And  the  bread  which  we  break,  is  it  not  the  participation  of  the 
body  of  the  Lord  ?"5     "  This  Sacrament,"  to  use  the  words  of  nion." 
Damascene,  "  unites  us  to  Christ,  and  renders  us  partakers  of 
his  flesh,  and  of  his  divinity,  reconciles  us  to  each  other  in  the 
same   Christ,  and  consolidates   us  as  it  were  into  one  body."6 
Hence  it  is  also  called  the   Sacrament  of  peace  and  charity;  "TheSa- 
giving  us  to  understand  how  unworthy  the  name  of  Christians  ment  of 
are  they  who  indulge  in  enmity  ;  and  that  hatred,  discord,  and  charity, 
strife  are  to  be  banished  the  society  of  the  faithful,   as  their 
worst  enemies  ;  an  obligation  which  becomes  still  more  impera 
tive   when   we  reflect   that  in  the  daily  oblation  of  the  sacred 
mysteries,  we  profess  to  study  with  watchful  solicitude,  to  pre 
serve  peace  and  charity  inviolate.  Sacred  writers  also  frequently 
call  it  "  The  Viaticum,"  as  well  because  it  is  the  spiritual  food 
by  which  we  are  supported  during  our  mortal  pilgrimage  :   as  Cl 
also,  because  it  prepares  for  us  a  passage  to  eternal  happiness 
and  everlasting  glory.     Hence,  in  accordance  with  the  ancient 
practice  of  the  Church,  none  of  the  faithful  are  suffered  to  de 
part  this  life  without  being  previously  fortified  with  this  living 
bread  from  heaven.     The  name  of  "The  Supper,"   has  also  "The  Sup- 
been  sometimes  given  to  this  Sacrament  by  the  most  ancient  rei>" 
Fathers,  in  imitation  of  the  Apostle,7  because  it  was  instituted 

1  Rom.  vi.  23. 

2  Mark  xxvi.  26.         xiv.  22.         Luke  xxii.  19.     1  Cor.  xi  24. 

3  Psalm  ex.  4,  5. 

4  Psalm  ex.  3.    Chrysost.  horn.  24  in  1  ad  Cor.  ad  heec  verba,  Calix  benedic- 
tionis.  Cypr.  lib.  de  lapsis.  Ambr.  lib.  5.  de  Sacr.  c.  3.  D.  Th.  p.  3,  q.  73,  a.  4. 

s  1  Cor.  r.  16. 

6  Damasc.  lib.  4.  de  fid.  orthod.  c.  4.  Vid.  Iren.  lib.  5,  c.  7,  Chrys.  horn.  44  et  45 
in  Joan.  Cyrill.  in  lib.  7.  in  Joan.  c.  13.  Cyrill.  Hier.  Catech.  4,  Aug.  Tract.  26,  in 
Joan.  Trid.  se.5S.  13.  de  Euchar.  in  proef  Concil.  Nicoen.  21,  Cart  4,  c.  77  er  26,  q 
6,  passim.  1 1  Cor.  xi.  20. 

148  TJie  Catuhism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

The  En-  by  our  Lord  at  the  saving  mystery  of  The  Last  Supper.1  This 
circumstance,  which  regards  the  time  of  its  institution,  does  not 

orated  and  however,  justify  the  inference  that  the  Eucharist  is  to  be  con- 

rereived,  secrated  or  received  by  persons  not  fasting :  the  salutary  prac- 
Ing'  tice  of  consecrating  and  receiving  it  fasting,  introduced,  as  an 
cient  writers  record,  by  the  Apostles,  has  always  been  observed 
in  the  Church.3 

A  Sacra-  Having  thus  premised  an  explanation  of  the  names  by  which 
this  Sacrament  is  distinguished,  the  pastor  will  teach  that  it  has 
all  the  qualities  of  a  true  Sacrament,  and  is  one  of  the  seven 
which  have  been  at  all  times  recognised  and  revered  by  the 
Catholic  Church.  Immediately  after  the  consecration  of  the 
chalice,  it  is  called  "a  mystery  of  faith  ;"  and  to  omit  an  almost 
innumerable  host  of  sacred  writers,  vouchers  of  the  same  doc 
trine,  that  the  holy  Eucharist  is  a  Sacrament  is  demonstrated  by 
the  very  nature  of  a  Sacrament.  It  has  sensible  and  outward 
signs  :  it  signifies  and  produces  grace  in  the  soul ;  and  all  doubt 
as  to  its  institution  by  Christ  is  removed  by  the  Apostle  and  the 
Evangelists.  These  circumstances,  combining  as  they  do  to 
establish  the  truth  of  the  Sacrament,  supersede  the  necessity  of 
pressing  the  matter  by  further  argument.3 

The  name       '^hat  in  the  Eucharist  there  are  many  things  to  which  sacred 

of  Sacra-  .  .  .  .        J  B/.  «-, 

ment,  giv-    writers   have  occasionally  given  the  name  ol  Sacrament,   the 

en  to  many  pastor  will  particularly  observe:    sometimes  its   consecration, 

h^Eucha-  somet'mes  its  reception,  frequently  the  body  and  blood  of  our 

rist, strictly  Lord  which  are  contained  in  it,  are  called  the  Sacrament;  be- 

<ipplies  to    cause,  as  s^  Augustine  observes,  this  Sacrament  consists  of  two 

only.P         things,  the  visible  species  of  the  elements,  and  the  invisible  flesh 

and  blood  of  our  Lord  Jesus   Christ.4     We  also  say  that  this 

Sacrament  is  to  be  adored,5  meaning  of  course,  the  body  and 

blood  of  our  Lord.    But  all  these,  it  is  obvious,  obtain  the  name 

of  Sacrament  in  its  less  strict  sense :  the  species  of  bread  and 

wine,  strictly  speaking,  constitute  the  Sacrament. 

The  Eu-          The  great  points  of  difference  between  this  and  the  other  Sa- 
charist  dif-  craments  are  easily  understood  ;  the  other  Sacraments  are  per- 
the* other     fected  by  the  use  of  their  matter,  that  is,  by  their  administra- 
Sacra-         tion  ;  baptism,  for  instance,  becomes  a  Sacrament  when  the  ab- 
ments,         lution  has  been  performed :  the  Eucharist  is  constituted  a  Sa 
crament  by  the  sole  consecration  of  the  elements,  and  when  pre 
served    in  a  pyxis,  or  deposited  in  a  tabernacle,  under  either 
II.        species,  it  ceases  not  to  be  a  Sacrament.     In  the  material  ele 
ments  of  which  the  other  Sacraments  are  composed,  no  change 
takes  place  ;  in  baptism,  for  instance,  the  water,  in  confirma 
tion,  the  chrism,  lose  not  in  their  administration,  the  nature  of 
water  and  of  oil ;   whilst  in  the  Eucharist,  that  which  before 

1  Cypr.  de  coma.  Domini.  2  Aug.  Epist.  188,  c.  6. 

3  Aug.  lib.  3.  de  Trinit.  cap.  4,  et  1.  20,  contra  Faust,  cap.  13,  Ambr.  lib.  1.  de 
sacrara.  cap.  2.  Trid.  sess.  13.  de  Euch.  c.  5.  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  73.  art.  1. 

4  De  Catec.  erud.  lib.  5.  c.  16.    August,  hie  ad  sensum  potius  quam  ad  verba  ci- 
latus  ;  sed  lege  hac  de  materia  librum  Lanfranci  contra  Berengarium :  constat. 
23,  tantum  capitibus  :  vide  de  consecr.  dist.  2.  lere  tola. 

5  Trid.  sess.  15,  de  Euch.  cap.  5.  et  can.  6. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  149 

consecration  was  bread  and  wine,  becomes,  after  consecration, 
really  and  substantially  the  body  and  blood  of  our  Lord. 

But  although  in  the  Eucharist  the  sacramental  matter  consists  TheSacra- 
of  two  elements,  that  is,  of  bread  and  wine,  yet,  guided  by  the  m^fr 
authority  of  the  Church,  we  profess  that  they  are  elements,  not  composed 
of  two,  but  of  one  Sacrament.     This  is  proved  by  the  very  of  Uvo  ele- 
nurnber  of  the  Sacraments,  which,  according  to  the  doctrine  of  |?o^tu.ut 
apostolic  tradition,  and  the  definitions  of  the  Councils  of  Late-  tive  of  one 
ran,1  Florence,3  and  Trent,3  is  confined  to  seven.     It  also  fol-  Sacrament- 
lows  from  the  nature  of  the  Holy  Eucharist ;  the  grace  which 
it  imparts  renders  us  one    mystic   body ;  and  to  accord  with 
what  it  accomplishes,  the  Eucharist  must  constitute  but  one 
Sacrament — one,  not  by  consisting  of  one  element,  but  by  sig 
nifying  one  thing.     Of  this  the  analogy  which  exists  between 
this  our  spiritual  food,  and  the  food  of  the  body,  furnishes  an 
illustration.     Meat  and  drink,  although  two  different  things,  are 
used  only  for  one  object,  the  sustenance  of  the  body;  so  should 
the  two  different  species  of  the  Sacrament,  to  signify  the  food 
of  the  soul,   be  significant  of  one  thing  only,  and   constitute 
therefore  but  one  Sacrament.     The  justness  of  this  analogy  is 
sustained  by  these  words  of  our  Lord :   "  My  flesh  is  meat  in 
deed,  and  my  blood  is  drink  indeed."* 

What  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist  signifies,  the  pastor  The  Eu- 

will  also  carefully  explain,  that  on  beholding  the  sacred  myste-  charist  sig- 
i_      *  -.1  /•  i  •/•!!•  nilies  threo 

ries,  the  faithful  may  also,  at  the  same  time,  feed  their  souls  on  things. 

the  contemplation  of  heavenly  things.  This  Sacrament,  then, 
is  significant  of  three  things — the  passion  of  Christ,  a  thing 
past — divine  grace,  a  thing  present — and  eternal  glory,  a  thing 
future.  It  is  significant  of  the  passion  of  Christ :  "  This  do,"  '• 
says  our  Lord,  "for  a  commemoration  of  me."5  "As  often," 
says  the  Apostle,  "  as  you  shall  eat  this  bread,  and  drink  the 
chalice,  you  shall  show  the  death  of  the  Lord,  until  he  come."6 
It  is  significant  of  divine  grace,  which  is  infused,  on  receiving  !!• 
this  sacrament,  to  nurture  and  preserve  the  soul.7  As  by  Bap 
tism,  we  are  begotten  to  newness  of  life,  and  by  Confirmation, 
are  strengthened  to  resist  Satan,  and  to  profess  openly  the  name 
of  Christ ;  so,  by  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist,  are  we  spi 
ritually  nurtured  and  supported.  It  is  also  significant  of  eter-  III. 
nal  glory,  which,  according  to  the  divine  promises,  is  reserved 
for  us  in  our  celestial  country.  These  three  things,  distinguished 
as  they  are  by  different  times,  past,  present,  and  future,  the 
Holy  Eucharist,  although  consisting  of  different  species,  marks 
as  significantly  as  if  they  were  but  one. 

To  consecrate  the  Sacrament  validly,  to  instruct  the  faithful  The  matter 
in  that  of  which  it  is  the  symbol,  and  to  kindle  in  their  souls  of  this  Sa' 
an  ardent  desire  of  possessing  the  invaluable  treasure  which  it 
signifies,  it  is  of  vital  importance  that  the  pastor  make  himself 

1  Ex  Conciliis  oitatis  I.ateranense  generale  sub  Innocent  II. — Non  numeral  qui 
lem  distincte  septem  Sarramenta,  sed  ex  variis  Canonilt.  satis  clare  colligimtur 

2  Florent.  in  tloct.  de  sacrem.  3  Trid.  sess  7,  can.  1.  4  John  vi.  56. 
5  Luke  xxii.  19.                 6  1  Cor.  xi.  26.                 7  Tertul.  de  Resur.  carnis,  c.  & 



The  sacra 

Also,  un 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

acquainted  with  its  matter.  The  matter  of  this  Sacrament  is 
two-fold,  consisting  of  wheaten  bread,  arid  of  wine  pressed  from 
the  grape,  mixed  with  a  little  water.  The  first  element,  then, 
(of  the  latter  we  shall  treat  hereafter)  is  bread :  as  the  Evan 
gelists,  Matthew,1  Mark,3  and  Luke,3  testify  :  "  Christ  our  Lord," 
say  they,  "  took  bread  into  his  hands,  blessed,  and  brake  it, 
saying,  THIS  is  MY  BODY  ;"  and  according  to  St.  John,  he  deno 
minated  himself  bread  in  these  words  :  "I  am  the  living  bread 
that  came  down  from  heaven."4 

As,  however,  there  are  different  sorts  of  bread,  composed  of 
different  materials,  such  as  wheat,  barley,  pease,  or  made  in  dif 
ferent  manners,  such  as  leavened  and  unleavened  ;  it  is  to  be 
observed  that,  with  regard  to  the  former,  the  sacramental  mat 
ter,  according  to  the  words  of  our  Lord,  should  consist  of 
wheaten  bread ;  for  when  we  simply  say  bread,  we  mean,  ac 
cording  to  common  usage,  "  wheaten  bread."5  This  is  also  dis 
tinctly  declared  by  a  figure  of  the  Holy  Eucharist  in  the  Old 
Testament:  the  Lord  commanded  that  the  loaves  of  proposition, 
which  prefigured  this  Sacrament,  should  be  made  of  "  fine 

As,  therefore,  wheaten  bread  alone  is  the  proper  matter  of 
this  Sacrament,  a  doctrine  handed  down  by  Apostolic  tradition, 
and  confirmed  by  the  authority  of  the  Catholic  Church  ;  it  may 
also  be  inferred  from  the  circumstances  in  which  the  Eucharist 
was  instituted,  that  this  wheaten  bread  should  be  unleavened. 
It  was  consecrated  and  instituted  by  our  Lord,  on  the  first  day 
of  unleavened  bread,  a  time  when  the  Jews  were  prohibited  by 
the  law,  to  have  leavened  bread  in  their  houses.7  Should  the 
words  of  the  Evangelist  St.  John,  who  says  that  all  this  was 
done  before  the  Passover,  be  objected,  the  objection  is  one  of 
easy  solution  :  by  "  the  day  before  the  Pasch,"*  St.  John  under 
stands  the  same  day,  which  the  other  Evangelists  designate 
"  the  first  day  of  unleavened  bread."  He  had  for  object,  prin 
cipally,  to  mark  the  natural  day,  which  does  not  commence 
until  sunrise;  and  the  first  natural  day  of  the  Pasch,  therefore, 
being  Friday,  "  the  day  before  the  Pasch"  means  Thursday, 
on  the  evening  of  which  the  festival  of  unleavened  bread  be 
gan,  and  on  which  our  Lord  celebrated  the  Pasch  and  insti 
tuted  the  Holy  Eucharist.  Hence,  St.  Chrysostome  understands 
the  first  day  of  unleavened  bread  to  be  the  day,  on  the  evening  of 
which  the  unleavened  bread  was  to  be  eaten.9  The  peculiar 
propriety  of  the  consecration  of  unleavened  bread,  to  express 
that  integrity  and  purity  of  heart,  with  which  the  faithful  should 
approach  this  Sacrament,  we  learn  from  these  words  of  the 

i  Matt.  xxvi.  26.  2  Mark  xiv.  22.  3  Luke  xxii.  19. 

4  John  vi.  41.  Vide  de  consecr.  dist.  2.  c.  1.  et  2.  et  55.  ubi  habes  de  hac  matena 
decreta  Alexandr.  Pap.  in  1.  Epist.  ad  omnes  Orthodoxos  et  Cypr.  lib.  2.  Epist.  3.  et 
Ambr.  1.  4.  de  Sacram.  c.  4.  vide  etiam  Iren.  1.  4.  c.  34.  et  1.  5.  c.  2. 

s  D.  Th.  3  p.  9.  74.  c.  3.  6  Lev.  xxiv.  5. 

7  Matt,  xxv  i.  17.    Mark  xiv.  12.    Luke  xxii.  7.    Vide  1.  3.  decretal,  tit.  de  cele- 
lirat.  Missamm,  c.  ult.  ubi  habes  auctoritatam  Honorii  Fap.  3. 

8  John  xiii.  1.  9  In  Math.  horn.  83. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  151 

Apostle  :  "  Purge  out  the  old  leaven,  that  you  may  be  a  new 
paste,  as  you  are  unleavened  ;  for  Christ  our  Pasch  is  sacrificed. 
Therefore,  let  us  feast  not  with  the  old  leaven,  not  with  the  lea 
ven  of  malice  and  wickedness,  but  with  the  unleavened  bread 
of  sincerity  and  truth."1 

This  property  of  the  bread,  however,  is  not  to  be  considered  Unleaven- 
so  essential  as  that  its  absence  must  render  the  Sacrament  null :  ed  bread 
both  sorts,  leavened  and  unleavened,  are  called  by  the  common  tial. 
name,  and  have  each  the  nature  and  properties,  of  bread.8     No 
one,  however,  should  on  his  own  individual  authority,  have  the 
temerity  to  depart  from  the  laudable  rite,  observed  in  the  Church 
to  which  he  belongs;  and  such  departure  is  the  less  warrantable 
in  priests  of  the  Latin  Church,  commanded,  as  they  are,  by 
authority  of  the  supreme  Pontiff,  to  celebrate  the  sacred  mys 
teries  with  unleavened  bread  only.3     With  regard  to  the  first 
element  of  this  Sacrament,  this  exposition  will  be  found  suffi 
ciently  comprehensive.    We  may,  however,  observe  in  addition, 
that  the  quantity  of  bread  to  be  used  is  not  determined,  depend 
ing  as  it  does   upon  the   number  of  communicants,  a  matter 
which  cannot  be  defined. 

We  come  next  to  treat  of  the  second  element  of  this  Sacra-  Thesecona 
ment,  which  forms  part  of  its  matter,  and  consists  of  wine,  element, 
pressed  from  the  grape,  mingled  with  a  little  water.  That  our  r^e^mm* 
Lord  made  use  of  wine,  in  the  institution  of  this  Sacrament,  i;led\vitha 
lias  been  at  all  times  the  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church.  He  ['"le  wa~ 
himself  said  :  "  I  will  not  drink,  henceforth,  of  this  fruit  of  the 
vine,  until  that  day."4  On  these  words  of  our  Lord,  St.  Chry- 
sostome  observes  :  "  Of  the  fruit  of  the  vine,  which  certainly 
produces  wine,  not  water ;  as  if  he  had  it  in  view,  even  at  so 
early  a  period,  to  crush  by  the  evidence  of  these  words,  the 
heresy  which  asserted  that  water  alone  is  to  be  used  in  these 
mysteries."5  With  the  wine  used  in  the  sacred  mysteries,  the 
Church  of  God,  however,  has  always  mingled  watei\  because, 
as  we  know  on  the  authority  of  councils  and  the  testimony  of 
St.  Cyprian,  our  Lord  himself  did  so  ;8  and  also  because  this 
admixture  renews  the  recollection  of  the  blood  and  water  which 
issued  from  his  sacred  side.  The  word  water  we  also  find  used 
in  the  Apocalypse,  to  signify  the  people,7  and,  therefore,  water 
mixed  with  wine  signifies  the  union  of  the  faithful  with  Christ 
their  head.  This  rite,  derived  from  apostolic  tradition,  the 
Catholic  Church  has  at  all  times  observed.  The  propriety  of 
mingling  water  with  the  wine  rests,  it  is  true,  on  authority  so 
grave,  that  to  omit  the  practice  would  be  to  incur  the  guilt  of 
mortal  sin ;  however,  Ks  sole  omission  would  be  insufficient  to 
render  the  Sacrament  null.  But  care  must  be  taken  not  only  to 
mingle  water  with  the  wine,  but  also  to  mingle  it  in  small  quan- 

i  1  Cor.  v.  7,  8.  2  Concil  Florent  sess.  ult. 

3  Lib.  2.  decret.  de  celebr.  miss.  c.  final.  <  Matt.  xxvi.  29.  Mark  xiv.  25 

5  Horn.  83.  in  Mat th. 

6  Cyp.  lib.  ].  epist.  3.  Trid.  sess.  22.  de  sacrif.  miss.  c.  7.  et  can.  9. 
*  Apoc.  xvii.  15. 

1 52  The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

tity ;  for  in  the  opinion  of  ecclesiastical  writers,  the  water  is 
changed  into  wine.  Hence,  these  words  of  Pope  Honorius : 
"  A  pernicious  abuse  has  prevailed,  for  a  long  time,  amongst 
you,  of  using  in  the  holy  sacrifice  a  greater  quantity  of  water 
than  of  wine ;  whereas  in  accordance  with  the  rational  practice 
of  the  Universal  Church,  the  wine  should  be  used  in  much 
greater  quantity  than  the  water."1  We  have  now  treated  of  the 
only  two  elements  of  this  Sacrament ;  and  although  some  dared 
to  do  otherwise,  many  decrees  of  the  Church  justly  enact  that 
no  celebrant  offer  any  thing  but  bread  and  wine.3 

Peculiar          \ye  now  come  to  consider  the  aptitude  of  these  two  elements 
these'efe-0    *°  declare  those  things  of  which  they  are  the  sensible  signs, 
merits.         In  the  first  place,  they  signify  Christ,  the  true  life  of  the  world  ; 
for  our  Lord  himself  has  said :   "  My  flesh  is  meat  indeed,  and 
my  blood  is  drink  indeed."3     As,  therefore,  the  body  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  nourishes  to  eternal  life  those  who  receive  it 
with  purity  and  holiness,  with  great  propriety  is  this  Sacrament 
composed    principally  of  those  elements    which    sustain  life ; 
thus  giving  the  faithful  to  understand  that  the  soul  is  nurtured 
with  grace  by  a  participation  of  the  precious  body  and  blood  of 
H-        Christ.     These  elements  serve  also  to  prove  the  dogma  of  the 
real  presence.     Seeing,  as  we  do,  that  bread  and  wine  are  every 
day  changed  by  the  power  of  nature,  into   human  flesh  and 
blood,  we  are,  by  the  obvious  analogy  of  the   fact,   the  more 
readily  induced  to  believe  that  the  substance  of  the  bread  and 
wine  is  changed,  by  the  celestial  benediction,  into  the  real  body 
III-        and  blood  of  Christ.4     This  admirable  change  also  contributes 
to  illustrate  what  takes  place  in   the  soul.     As  the  bread  and 
wine,  although  invisibly,  are  really  and  substantially  changed 
into  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  so  are  we,  although  interi 
orly  and  invisibly,  yet  really  renewed  to  life,  receiving  in  the 
Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist,  the  true  life.     Moreover,  the  body 
IV.        of  the  Church,   although  one,   and  undivided,  consists  of  the 
union  of  many  members,  and  of  this  mysterious  union  nothing 
is  more  strikingly   illustrative  than  bread  and  wine.     Bread  is 
made  from  many  grains,  wine  is  pressed  from   many  grapes, 
and  thus  are  we  too,   although  many,  closely  united  by  this 
mysterious  bond  of  union,  and  made  as  it  were  one  body. 
The  form         The  form  to  be  used  in  the  consecration  of  the  bread,  we 
o  be  used  now  come  to  explain ;  not,  however,  with  a  view  that  the  faith- 
secrationof  ful  should  be  taught  these  mysteries,  unless  necessity  require 
die  bread,    it,  (a  knowledge  of  them  is  obligatory  on  ecclesiastics  alone) 
^u*  to  obviate  the  possibility  of  mistakes  on  the  part  of  the  ce- 
lebrant,  through  ignorance  of  the  form  ;  mistakes,  were  they  to 
occur,  as  discreditable  to  the  minister,  as  derogatory  to  the  dig 
nity  of  the  divine  mysteries.     From  the  Evangelists  Matthew 
and  Luke,  and  also  from  the  Apostle,  we  learn  that  the  form  oi 

Habetur  1.  3.  Decretal,  de  eel.  miss.  c.  13. 

2  Vid.  de  consecr.  dist.  2.  c.  1.  2.  et  seq.  3  John  vi.  56. 

4  Damas.  1.  4.  de  fid.  orthod.  c.  14. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Euchanst.  153 

the  Sacrament  consists   in  these   words :  "  THIS  is  MY  BODY." 

We  read  that  when  they  had  supped,  "  Jesus  took  bread,  and 

blessed  and  brake  and  gave  to  his  disciples,  saying :  take  and 

eat,  THIS   is   MY  BODY  j"1  and  this  form  of  consecration,  made  from  the 

use  of  by  Jesus  Christ,  has  been  uniformly  and  inviolably  ob-  Fathers 

served  in  the  Catholic  Church.     The  testimonies  of  the  Fathers  *|js 

in  proof  of  its  legitimacy,  may  be  here  omitted ;  to  enumerate 

them  would  prove  an  endless  task.     The  decree  of  the  Council 

of  Florence  to  the  same  effect,  because  of  easy  access  to  all,  it 

is   also   unnecessary  to  cite.     The  necessity  of  every  other 

proof  is  superseded  by  these  words  of  the  Saviour :   "  This 

do  for  a  commemoration  of  me."3    This  command  of  our  Lord 

embraces  not  only  what  he  did,  but  also  what  he  said,  and  has 

more  immediate  reference  to  his  own  words  uttered  not  less  for 

the  purpose  of  effecting,  than  of  signifying  what  they  effected.3 

That  these  words  constitute  the  form  is  easily  proved  from  from  rea- 
reason  alone.  The  form  of  a  Sacrament  is  that  which  signifies  son- 
what  is  accomplished  in  the  Sacrament :  what  is  accomplished 
in  the  Eucharist,  that  is  the  conversion  of  the  bread  into  the 
true  body  of  our  Lord,  the  words  "  this  is  my  body,"  signify 
and  declare  ;  they  therefore  constitute  the  form.  The  words 
of  the  Evangelist,  "  he  blessed,"  go  to  support  this  reasoning. 
They  are  equivalent  to  saying  :  "  taking  bread,  he  blessed  it, 
saying,  this  is  my  body."4  The  words,  "  take  and  eat,"  it  is 
true,  precede  the  words  "  this  is  my  body,"  but  they  evidently 
express  the  use,  not  the  consecration  oi  the  matter,  and  cannot, 
therefore  constitute  the  form.  But  although  not  necessary  to 
the  consecration  of  the  Sacrament,  they  are  not,  however,  on 
any  account,  to  be  omitted.  The  conjunction  "  for,"  has  also 
u  place  amongst  the  words  of  consecration  ;  otherwise  it  would 
follow  that  if  the  Sacrament  were  not  to  be  administered  to  any 
one,  it  should  not,  or  even  could  not  be  consecrated  ;  whereas, 
that  the  priest  by  pronouncing  the  words  of  our  Lord,  according 
to  the  institution  and  practice  of  the  Church,  truly  consecrates 
the  proper  matter  of  the  Sacrament,  although  it  should  after 
wards  happen  never  to  be  administered,  admits  not  the  least 
shadow  of  doubt. 

The  form  of  the  consecration  of  the  wine,  the  other  element  The  form 
of  this  Sacrament,  is,  for  the  reasons  assigned  with  regard  to  the  j°  ^0"^ 
bread,  necessary  to  be  accurately  known,  and  clearly  understood  gecration  or 
by  the  priest.     It  is  firmly  to  be  believed  that  the  form  of  con-  the  w'ne> 
secvating  the  chalice  is  comprehended  in  these  words  :  "  THIS 

MENT  :      THE    MYSTERY    OF    FAITH  :     WHICH    SHALL    BE    SHED    FOR 
•SOU,  AND  FOR  MANY  TO  THE  REMISSION  OF  SINS."5      These  words 

1  Matt.  rxyi.  26.    Mark  xiv.  22.    Luke  xxii.  19.    1  Cor.  xi.  24. 

2  Luke  xxii.  19.  In  decret.  de  sacrarn.  item  Trid.  sess.  13.  c.  1. 

3  Quod  ad  Patres  attinet,  vid.  Amb.  1.  4.  de  sacram.  c.  4.  et  5.  Chrys.  horn,  de 
prodit.  Judse.     Aug.  1.  3.  de  Trinit.  c.  4.  Iren.  ].  4.  contr.  haer.  c.  34.    Orig.  lib.  8. 
ooritr.  Celsum.  Hesich.  1.  G.  in  Levit.  c.  22.  Cyril.  Alex,  epist  ad  Calosorum  epis- 
eop.  Tertul.  1.  4.  contr.  Marc,  in  Hiear.  epist.  1. 

4  Matt.  xxvi.  26.  s  Decretal.  1.  3.  de  celeb,  raise,  c.  6. 


from  tradi 

from  rea 

three  ef 
fects  of  the 
blood  of  the 



The  form 
of  conse 
crating  the 
wine,  ex 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

are  for  the  most  part  taken  from  Scripture.  Some  of  them, 
however,  have  been  preserved  in  the  Church  by  apostolic  tra 
dition.  The  words  "this  is  the  chalice"  are  taken  from  St. 
Luke,1  and  are  also  mentioned  by  the  Apostle. a  The  words 
that  immediately  follow.  "  of  my  blood,  or  my  blood  of  the 
new  testament,  which  shall  be  shed  for  you,  and  for  many  to 
the  remission  of  sins,"  are  taken  in  part  from  St.  Luke,1*  and  in 
part  from  St.  Matthew. 4  The  words  "  and  eternal,"  and  also 
the  words  "the  mystery  of  faith,"  have  been  transmitted  to  us 
by  holy  tradition,  the  interpreter  and  guardian  of  Catholic  unity. 
Of  the  legitimacy  of  this  form  we  cannot  entertain  a  shadow  of 
doubt,  if  we  attend  to  what  has  been  already  said  of  the  form 
used  in  the  consecration  of  the  bread.  The  form  to  be  used  in 
the  consecration  of  this  element,  should,  confessedly,  consist 
of  words  signifying  that  the  substance  of  the  wine  is  changed 
into  the  blood  of  our  Lord  :  this  the  words  already  cited  clearly 
declare ;  and  therefore,  they  alone  exclusively  constitute  the 

They  also  express  certain  admirable  fruits  produced  by  the 
blood  of  Christ,  which  was  shed  on  Calvary,  fruits  which  be 
long  in  a  special  manner  to  this  Sacrament.  Of  these  one  is 
admission  into  the  eternal  inheritance  to  which  we  have  acquired 
a  right  by  "  the  new  and  everlasting  testament  :"3  another 
is  admission  to  righteousness  by  "  the  mystery  of  faith,"  for 
"God  hath  proposed"  Jesus  "to  be  a  propitiation  through  faith 
in  his  blood,  to  the  showing  of  his  justice,  that  he  himself  may 
be  just,  and  the  justifierof  him,  who  is  of  the  faith  of  Jesus 
Christ:"8  a  third  is  the  remission  of  sin.7 

But  as  the  words  of  consecration  are  replete  with  mysteries, 
and  are  most  appropriate  in  their  application  to  our  present  sub 
ject,  they  demand  a  more  minute  consideration.  When,  there 
fore,  it  is  said :  "  This  is  the  chalice  of  my  blood,"8  these  words 
are  to  be  understood  to  mean:  "This  is  my  blood  which  is 
contained  in  this  chalice."  The  mention  of  "the  chalice,"  at 
the  moment  of  its  consecration,  to  be  the  drink  of  the  faithful, 
is  peculiarly  appropriate:  without  its  mention  as  the  vessel  in 
which  it  is  contained,  the  words:  "  This  is  my  blood,"  would 
not  seem  sufficiently  to  designate  this  supernatural  species  of 
drink.  Next  follow  the  words:  "of  the  New  Testament;" 
they  are  added  to  give  us  to  understand,  that  the  blood  of  the 
Saviour  is  not  now  given  figuratively,  as  in  the  Old  Law,  of 
which  we  read  in  the  Apostle,  that  without  blood  a  Testament 
is  not  dedicated  ;9  but  really  and  truly  given,  a  prerogative  pe 
culiar  to  the  New  Testament.  Hence  the  Apostle  says  :  "  There 
fore,  Christ  is  the  mediator  of  the  New  Testament,  that  by 
means  of  his  death,  they  who. are  called  may  receive  the  pro 
mise  of  eternal  inheritance."10  The  word  "eternal"  refers  to 

i  Luke  xxii.  20. 
4  Matt.  xxvi.  28. 
?  Heb,  ix.  12. 
9  Heb.  ix.  18. 

2  1  Cor.  xi.  25. 

5  Heb.  x.  20.  xiii.  20. 

8  Decret.  1.  3.  de  eel.  Miss.  c.  8. 
Heb.  ix.  15. 

3  Luke  xxii.  20. 
6  Rom.  iii.  25,  26. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  155 

the  eternal  inheritance,  our  title  to  which  has  been  purchased 
by  Christ  the  Lord,  the  eternal  Testator.  The  words  "  mystery 
of  faith,"  which  are  added,  exclude  not  the  reality,  but  signify 
that  what  lies  concealed  under  the  veil  of  mystery,  and  is  far 
removed  from  the  ken  of  mortal  eye,  is  to  be  believed  with  the 
certainty  of  faith.  Here,  however,  these  words  bear  an  import 
entirely  different  from  that  which  they  have  when  applied  to 
baptism.  Here,  the  mystery  of  faith  consists  in  this,  that  we 
see  by  faith  the  blood  of  Christ,  veiled  under  the  species  of 
wine ;  but  baptism  is  properly  called  by  us  "  the  Sacrament," 
by  the  Greeks,  "the  mystery  of  faith,"  because  it  comprises 
the  entire  profession  of  the  faith  of  Christ.  There  is  also  an 
other  reason  why  the  blood  of  our  Lord  is  called  "  the  mystery 
of  faith."  In  its  belief  human  reason  experiences  the  greatest 
difficulties,  because  faith  proposes  to  us  to  believe  that  the  Son 
of  God,  God  and  man,  suffered  death  for  our  redemption,  a 
death  signified  by  the  Sacrament  of  his  blood.  His  passion, 
therefore,  is  more  appropriately  commemorated  here,  in  the 
words,  "which  shall  be  shed  for  the  remission  of  sins,"  than  at 
the  consecration  of  his  body.  The  separate  consecration  of 
the  blood  places  before  our  eyes,  in  more  vivid  colours,  his 
passion,  crucifixion,  and  death.  The  additional  words,  "for 
you  and  for  many,"  are  taken,  some  from  St.  Matthew,1  some 
from  St.  Luke,3  and  under  the  guidance  of  the  Spirit  of  God, 
combined  together  by  the  Catholic  Church.  They  serve  em 
phatically  to  designate  the  fruit  and  advantages  of  his  passion. 
Looking  to  the  efficacy  of  the  passion,  we  believe  that  the  Re 
deemer  shed  his  blood  for  the  salvation  of  all  men  ;  but  look 
ing  to  the  advantages,  which  mankind  derive  from  its  efficacy, 
we  find,  at  once,  that  they  are  not  extended  to  the  whole,  but 
to  a  large  proportion  of  the  human  race.  When,  therefore,  our 
Lord  said  :  "  for  you,"  he  meant  either  those  who  were  pre 
sent,  or  those  whom  he  had  chosen  from  amongst  the  Jews, 
amongst  whom  were,  with  the  exception  of  Judas,  all  his  dis 
ciples  with  whom  he  then  conversed ;  but  when  he  adds,  "  for 
many,"  he  would  include  the  remainder  of  the  elect  from 
amongst  the  Jews  and  Gentiles.  With  great  propriety  there 
fore,  were  the  words,  for  all,  omitted,  because  here  the  fruit  of 
the  passion  is  alone  spoken  of,  and  to  the  elect  only  did  his 
passion  bring  the  fruit  of  salvation.  This  the  words  of  the 
Apostle  declare,  when  he  says,  that  Christ  was  offered  once,  to 
take  away  the  sins  of  many  ;3  and  the  same  truth  is  conveyed 
in  these  words  of  our  Lord  recorded  by  St.  John  :  "I  pray 
for  them,  I  pray  not  for  the  world  ;  but  for  them  whom  thou 
hast  given  me,  because  they  are  thine."4  The  words  of  conse 
cration  also  convey  many  other  truths  ;  truths,  however,  which 
the  pastor  by  the  daily  meditation  and  study  of  divine  things, 
and  aided  by  grace  from  above,  will  not  find  it  difficult  to  dis 

1  Matt.  xxvi.  28.  2  Luke  xxii.  20. 

3  Heb.  ix.  26  «  John  xvii.  9. 

156  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

This  sub-  To  return  to  those  things,  of  which  the  faithful  are  on  no  ac- 
teiTto'be  count  to  be  suffered  to  remain  ignorant,  the  pastor,  aware  of  the 
judged  of  awful  denunciation  of  the  Apostle  against  those  who  discern  not 

by  fh  th'h  ^e  boc^  °^  tlie  Lord,1  wil1'  first  °f  a11'  imPress  on  tne  minds 
"enses.  °  °f  tne  faithful,  the  necessity  of  detaching,  as  much  as  possible, 
their  minds  and  understandings  from  the  dominion  of  the  senses, 
for  were  they,  with  regard  to  this  sublime  mystery,  to  consti 
tute  the  senses  the  only  tribunal  to  which  they  are  to  appeal, 
the  awful  consequence  must  be,  their  precipitation  into  the  ex 
treme  of  impiety.  Consulting  the  sight,  the  touch,  the  smell, 
the  taste,  and  finding  nothing  but  the  appearances  of  bread  and 
wine,  the  senses  must  naturally  lead  them  to  think,  that  this  Sa 
crament  contains  nothing  more  than  bread  and  wine.  Their 
minds,  therefore,  are  as  much  as  possible  to  be  withdrawn  from 
subjection  to  the  senses,  and  excited  to  the  contemplation  of  the 
stupendous  power  of  God. 

The  words  The  Catholic  Church,  then,  firmly  believes,  and  openly  pro 
of  cpnse-  fesses  that  in  this  Sacrament,  the  words  of  consecration  accom- 
effecuhree  plish  three  things  ;  first,  that  the  true  and  real  body  of  Christ, 
things.  the  same  that  was  born  of  the  Virgin,  and  is  now  seated  at  the 
right  hand  of  the  Father  in  heaven,  is  rendered  present  in  the 

II.  Holy  Eucharist;3  secondly,  that  however  repugnant  it  may  ap 
pear  to  the  dictate  of  the  senses,  no  substance  of  the  elements 

III.  remains  in  the  Sacrament  ;3   and  thirdly,  a  natural  consequence 
from  the  two  preceding,  and  one  which  the  words  of  consecra 
tion  also  express,  that  the  accidents  which  present  themselves 
to  the  eyes,  or  other  senses,  exist  in  a  wonderful  and  ineffable 
manner  without  a  subject.     The  accidents  of  bread  and  wine 
we  see;  but  they  inhere  in  no  substance,  and  exist  indepen 
dently  of  any.     The  substance  of  the  bread   and  wine  is  so 
changed  into  the  body  and  blood  of  our  Lord,  that  they,  alto 
gether,  cease  to  be  the  substance  of  bread  and  wine. 

The  real  To  proceed  in  order,  the  pastor  will  begin  with  the  first,  and 
presence  gjve  j^g  best  attention  to  show,  how  clear  and  explicit  are  the 
fronYscrip-  words  of  our  Saviour,  which  establish  the  real  presence  of  his 
ture.  body  in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  When  our  Lord  says  : 

"  This  is  my  body,  this  is  my  blood,"4  no  man  however  igno 
rant,  unless  he  labours  under  some  obliquity  of  intellect,  can 
mistake  his  meaning ;  particularly  if  he  recollect,  that  the  words 
"  body"  and  "  blood"  refer  to  his  human  nature,  the  real  as 
sumption  of  which  by  the  Son  of  God  no  Catholic  can  doubt. 
To  use  the  admirable  words  of  St.  Hilary,  a  man  not  less  emi 
nent  for  piety  than  learning:  "When  our  Lord  himself  de 
clares,  as  our  faith  teaches  us,  that  his  flesh  is  meat  indeed, 
•what  room  can  remain  for  doubt?"5  The  pastor  will  also  ad- 

1  1  Cor.  xi.  29. 

2  Vide  Dionys.  de  Eccl.  Hierarch.  c.  3,  Ignat.  Epist.  ad  Smyr.  Just.  Apol.  2,  Iren. 
1.  4,  c.  34,  et  1.  5.  c.  2.  Trid.  Sess.  13,  c.  1,  de  Euch. 

3  Cypr.  de  coena  domini  Euse.  Emiss.  horn.  5.  de  Pasch.  Cyril.  Hycros.  Catech.  1. 
3  et  4,  Ambr.  1.  4,  de  Sacram.  c.  4,  Chrysost.  horn.  83.  in  Matt,  et  60,  ad  pop.  Antiocli. 

i  Matt.  xxvi.  28.     Mark  xiv.  22,  24.    Luke  xxii.  19. 

6  S.  Hilar.  1.  8,  de  Trinitat.  super  ilia  verba  velut  unura 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  15? 

duce  another  passage  from  Scripture  in  proof  of  this  sublime 
truth  :  having  recorded  the  consecration  of  bread  and  wine  by 
our  Lord,  and  also  the  administration  of  the  sacred  mysteries 
to  the  Apostles,  by  the  hands  of  the  Saviour,  the  Apostle  adds  : 
"  But  let  a  man  prove  himself,  and  so  eat  of  that  bread  and 
drink  of  the  chalice,  for  he  that  eateth  and  drinketh  unworthily, 
eateth  and  drinketh  judgment  to  himself,  not  discerning  the 
body  of  the  Lord."1  If,  as  heresy  asserts,  the  Sacrament 
presents  nothing  to  our  veneration  but  a  memorial  and  sign  of 
the  passion  of  Christ,  why  exhort  the  faithful,  in  language  so 
energetic  to  prove  themselves  ?  The  answer  is  obvious  :  by 
the  heavy  denunciation  contained  in  the  words  "judgment," 
the  Apostle  marks  the  enormity  of  his  guilt,  who  receives  un 
worthily  and  distinguishes  not  from  common  food  the  body  of 
the  Lord,  concealed  beneath  the  eucharistic  veil.  The  preced 
ing  words  of  the  Apostle  develope  more  fully  his  meaning  : 
"  The  chalice  of  benediction,"  says  he,  "  which  we  bless,  is  it 
not  the  communion  of  the  blood  of  Christ  ?  and  the  bread  which 
we  break,  is  it  not  the  participation  of  the  body  of  the  Lord  ?"a 
words  which  prove  to  demonstration  the  real  presence  of  Jesus 
Christ  in  the  holy  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist. 

These  passages  of  Scripture,  are,  therefore,  to  be  expounded  From  tra- 
by  the  pastor,  and  he  will  emphatically  press  upon  the  attention 
of  the  faithful,  that  their  meaning,  in  itself  obvious,  is  placed 
beyond  all  doubt  by  the  uniform  interpretation  and  authority  of 
the  Holy  Catholic  Church.  That  such  has  been  at  all  times 
the  doctrine  of  the  Church,  may  be  ascertained  in  a  two-fold 
manner ;  by  consulting  the  Fathers  who  flourished  in  the  early 
ages  of  the  Church  and  in  each  succeeding  century,  who  are 
the  most  unexceptionable  witnesses  of  her  doctrine,  and  all  of 
whom  teach  in  the  clearest  terms,  and  with  the  most  entire  una 
nimity,  the  dogma  of  the  real  presence ;  and  also  by  appealing 
to  the  Councils  of  the  Church,  convened  on  this  important  sub 
ject.  To  adduce  the  individual  testimony  of  each  Father  would 
prove  an  endless  task— enough,  that  we  cite,  or  rather  point  out 
a  few,  whose  testimony  will  afford  a  sufficient  criterion  by  which 
to  judge  of  the  rest.  Let  St.  Ambrose  first  declare  his  faith: 
in  his  book  on  "  the  Initiated"  he  says,  that  the  same  true  body  . 
of  our  Lord,  which  was  assumed  of  the  Virgin,  is  received  in 
this  Sacrament ;  a  truth  which  he  declares  is  to  be  believed  with 
the  certainty  of  faith ;  and  in  another  place  he  distinctly  tells 
us,  that  before  consecration  it  is  bread,  but  after  consecration 
it  is  the  flesh  of  Christ.3  St.  Chrysostome,  another  witness  of 
equal  fidelity  and  weight,  professes  and  proclaims  this  myste 
rious  truth,  particularly  in  his  sixtieth  homily  on  those  who  re 
ceive  the  sacred  mysteries  unworthily  ;  and  also  in  his  forty- 
fourth  and  forty-fifth  homilies  on  St.  John:  "Let  us,"  says 
he,  "obey,  not  contradict  God,  although  what  he  says  may 

'  1  Cor.  xi.  28, 29.  2  1  Cor.  x.  16. 

3  Lib.  4,  de  Sacr.  c.  4,  et  de  iis  qui  myster.  init.  c.  9.  vide  et  de  consec.  dist  2 
plurim.  in  locis. 



And  con 
firmed  by 

Tlie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

seem  contrary  to  our  reason  and  our  sight :  his  words  cannot 
deceive,  our  senses  are  easily  deceived."1  With  the  doctrine 
thus  taught  by  St.  Chrysostome,  that  uniformly  taught  by  St. 
Augustine  fully  accords,  particularly  when  in  his  explanation 
of  the  thirty-third  Psalm,  he  says:  "To  carry  himself  in  his 
own  hands,  is  impossible  to  man,  and  peculiar  to  Christ  alone; 
he  was  carried  in  his  own  hands,  when  giving  his  body  to  be 
eaten,  he  said,  This  is  my  body."0  To  pass  by  Justin  and  Ire- 
naeus,  St.  Cyril,  in  his  fourth  book  on  St.  John,  declares  in  such 
express  terms,  that  the  body  of  our  Lord  is  contained  in  this 
Sacrament,  that  no  sophistry  can  distort,  no  captious  interpre 
tations  obscure  his  meaning.  Should  the  pastor  wish  for  addi 
tional  testimonies  of  the  Fathers,  he  will  find  it  easy  to  add  the 
Hilaries,  the  Jeromes,  the  Denises,  the  Damascenes,  and  a  host 
of  other  illustrious  names,  whose  sentiments  on  this  most  im 
portant  subject  he  will  find  collected  by  the  labour  and  industry 
of  men  eminent  for  piety  and  learning.8 

Another  means  of  ascertaining  the  belief  of  the  Church  on 
matters  of  faith,  is  the  condemnation  of  the  contrary  doctrine. 
That  the  belief  of  the  real  presence  was  that  of  the  universal 
Church  of  God,  unanimously  professed  by  all  her  children,  is 
demonstrated  by  a  well  authenticated  fact.  When  in  the  ele 
venth  century,  Berengarius  presumed  to  deny  this  dogma,  assert 
ing  that  the  Eucharist  was  only  a  sign,  the  innovation  was  im 
mediately  condemned  by  the  unanimous  voice  of  the  Christian 
world.  The  Council  of  Vercelli,  convened  by  authority  of 
Leo  IX.,  denounced  the  heresy,  and  Berengarius  himself  re 
tracted  and  anathematized  his  error.  Relapsing,  however,  into 
the  same  infatuation  and  impiety,  he  was  condemned  by  three 
different  Councils,  convened,  one  at  Tours,  the  other  two  at 
Rome :  of  the  two  latter,  one  was  summoned  by  Nicholas  II., 
the  other  by  Gregory  VII.  The  general  Council  of  Lateran 
held  under  Innocent  III.,  further  ratified  the  sentence ;  and  the 
faith  of  the  Catholic  Church,  on  this  point  of  doctrine,  was 
more  fully  declared  and  more  firmly  established  in  the  Councils 
of  Florence  and  Trent. 

If,  then,  the  pastor  carefully  explain  these  particulars,  his 
labours  will  be  blessed  with  the  effect  of  strengthening  the 
weak,  and  administering  joy  and  consolation  to  the  pious ;  (of 
those  who,  blinded  by  error,  hate  nothing  more  than  the  light 
of  truth,  we  waive  all  mention)  and  this  two-fold  effect  will  be 
more  securely  attained,  as  the  faithful  cannot  doubt  that  this 
dogma  is  numbered  amongst  the  articles  of  faith.  Believing 
and  confessing  as  they  do,  that  the  power  of  God  is  supreme, 

1  tet.  Chrys.  ad  popul.  Antioch.  homil.  60  et  61. 

2  Divus  Augustinus  in  Psalm  xxxiii.  Cone.  1,  a  medio  ad  finem  usque.  Cyril, 
lib.  4,  in  Joan.  c.  33,  et  14,  et  lib.  1,  c.  13.  Inst.  Apolog.  2,  sub  finem  ad  Antonium 

3  Iren.  lib.  5,  contra  heraetic.  et  lib.  5,  in  Joan.  c.  34.    Dionys.  Ecclee.  Hier. 
« .  3,  Hilar.  lib.  8.  de  Trinit.  Hieron.  epist  ad  I~Vj<nascen.    Damas.  lib.  4,  de  or- 
I  hod.  fid.  c.  14. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  159 

they  must  also  believe  that  his  omnipotence  can  accomplish  the 
great  work  which  we  admire  and  adore  in  the  Sacrament  of  the 
Eucharist ;  and  again,  believing  as  they  do,  the  Holy  Catholic         II. 
Church,  they  must  necessarily  believe  that  the  doctrine  ex 
pounded  by  us,  is  that  which  was  revealed  by  the  Son  of  God. 

But   nothing  contributes   more  to  light  up  in  the  pious  soul  The  digni- 
that  spiritual  joy,  of  which  we  have  spoken  ;  nothing  is  more  ^dc(^j[et^ 
fertile  of  spiritual  fruit,  than  the  contemplation  of  the  exalted  church  by 
dignity  of  this  most  august  Sacrament.     From  it  we  learn  how  the  institu- 
great  must  be  the  perfection  of  the  gospel  dispensation,  under  sacrament 
which  we  enjoy  the  reality  of  that,  which  under  the  Mosaic 
Law  was  only  shadowed  by  types  and  figures.     Hence  St.  De 
nis,  with  a  wisdom  more  than  human,  says  that  our  Church  is 
a  mean  between   the  synagogue  and  the  heavenly  Jerusalem, 
and  participates  of  the  nature  of  both.1     The  perfection  of  the 
Holy  Catholic  Church,  and  her  exalted  glory,  removed  only  by 
one  degree  from  heaven,  the  faithful  cannot  sufficiently  admire. 
In  common  with  the  inhabitants  of  heaven,  we,  too,  possess 
Christ,  God  and  man,  present  with  us  ;  but  they,  and  in  this 
they  are  raised  a  degree  above  us,  are  admitted  to  the  actual 
enjoyment  of  the  beatific  vision;  whilst  we,  with  a  firm   and 
unwavering  faith,  offer  the  tribute  of  our  homage  to  the  Di 
vine  Majesty  present  with  us,  not,  it  is  true,  in  a  manner  visi 
ble  to  mortal  eye,  but  hidden  by  a  miracle  of  power,  under  the 
veil  of  the  sacred  mysteries.     How  admirably  does  not  this  Sa 
crament,  also,  display  to  us  the  infinite  love  of  Jesus  Christ  to 
man  !     It  became  the  goodness  of  the  Saviour  not  to  withdraw  • 
from  us  that  nature  which  he  assumed  for  our  sake,  but  to  de 
sire,  as  far  as  possible,  to  dwell  permanently  amongst  us,  at  all 
times  strictly  verifying  the  words  :  "  My  delight  is  to  be  with 
the  children  of  men."8 

Here  the  pastor  will  also  explain  to  the  faithful,  that  in  this  Christ 
Sacrament  are  contained  not  only  the  true  body  of  Christ,  and  all  ^nt"r(?  p"e. 
the  constituents  of  a  true  body,  but  also  Christ  whole  and  entire —  sent  in  this 
that  the  word  Christ  designates  the  man-God,  that  is  to  say,  one  Sacrament 
Person  in  whom  are  united  the  divine  and  human  natures — that 
the  holy  Eucharist,  therefore,  contains  both,  and  whatever  is  in 
cluded  in  the  idea  of  both,  the  divinity  and  humanity  whole  and  <~ 
entire,  the  soul,  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ  with   all   their 
component  parts — all  of  which  faith  teaches  us  are  contained 
in  the  Sacrament.     In  heaven  the  whole  humanity  is  united  to 
the  divinity  in  one  hypostasis,  or  person,  and  it  were  impious, 
therefore,  to  suppose  that  the  body  of  Christ,  which  is  contain 
ed  in  the  Sacrament,  is  separated  from  his  divinity.3 

The  pastor,  however,  will  not  fail  to  observe,  that  in  the  Sa-  In  this  Sa 
crament  all  are  not  contained  after  the  same  manner,  or  by  the  g^^ent> 
same  efficacy :  some  things,  we  say,  the  efficacy  of  consecra-  things  ef- 

i  De  Eccl.  Hierar.  c.  3.  p.  1.  2  Prov.  viii.  31. 

3  Vide  de  consec.  dist.  2,  raultis  in  locis,  item  Amb.  de  iis  qui  myst.  init,  c.  9,  D 
T.  p,  3.  q.  76,  art  1. 


footed  by 
the  words 
of  conse 
some  by 

The  ele 
why  sepa 
rately  con 

whole  and 
entire  in 
each  parti 
cle  of 
either  spe 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

tion  accomplishes  ;  for  as  the  words  of  consecration  effectuate 
what  they  signify,  sacred  writers  usually  say,  that  whatever  the 
form  expresses,  is  contained  in  the  Sacrament  by  virtue  of  the 
Sacrament;  and  hence,  could  we  suppose  any  one  thing  to  be 
entirely  separated  from  the  rest,  the  Sacrament,  in  their  opinion, 
would  be  found  to  contain  solely  what  the  form  expresses.  But, 
some  things  are  contained  in  the  Sacrament,  because  united  to 
those  which  are  expressed  in  the  form ;  for  instance,  the  words 
"  This  is  my  body,"  which  comprise  the  form  used  to  conse 
crate  the  bread,  signify  the  body  of  the  Lord,  and  hence,  the 
body  of  the  Lord  is  contained  in  the  Eucharist,  by  virtue  of  the 
Sacrament.  As,  however,  to  the  body  are  united  his  blood,  his 
soul,  his  divinity,  they  too  must  be  found  to  coexist  in  the  Sacra 
ment  ;  not,  however,  by  virtue  of  the  consecration,  but  by  virtue 
of  the  union  that  subsists  between  them  and  his  body  ;  and  this 
theologians  express  by  the  word  "  concomitance."  Hence  it  is 
clear  that  Christ,  whole  and  entire,  is  contained  in  the  Sacra 
ment  ;  for  when  two  things  are  actually  united,  where  one  is, 
the  other  must  also  be.  Hence  it  also  follows,  that  Christ, 
whole  and  entire,  is  contained  under  either  species,  so  that  as 
under  the  species  of  bread,  are  contained  not  only  the  body,  but 
also  the  blood  and  Christ  entire,  so  in  like  manner,  under  the 
species  of  wine  are  contained  not  only  the  blood,  but  also  the 
body  and  Christ  entire.  These  are  matters  on  which  the  faithful 
cannot  entertain  a  doubt.  Wisely,  however,  was  it  ordained 
that  two  distinct  consecrations  should  take  place :  they  repre 
sent  in  a  more  lively  manner,  the  passion  of  our  Lord,  in  which 
his  blood  was  separated  from  his  body ;  and  hence,  in  the  form 
of  consecration  we  commemorate  the  effusion  of  his  blood. 
The  sacrament  is  to  be  used  by  us  as  the  food  and  nourish 
ment  of  our  souls  ;  and  it  was  most  accordant  with  this  its  use, 
that  it  should  be  instituted  as  meat  and  drink,  which  obviously 
constitute  the  proper  food  of  man. 

The  pastor  will  also  inform  the  faithful,  that  Christ,  whole 
and  entire,  is  contained  not  only  under  either  species,  but  also 
in  each  particle  of  either  species:  "Each,"  says  St.  Augustine, 
"  receives  Christ  the  Lord  entire  in  each  particle :  he  is  not 
diminished  by  being  given  to  many,  but  gives  himself  whole 
and  entire  to  each."1  This  is  also  an  obvious  inference  from 
the  narrative  of  the  Evangelists :  it  is  not  to  be  supposed  that 
the  bread  used  at  the  Last  Supper  was  consecrated  by  our  Lord 
in  separate  parts,  applying  the  form  particularly  to  each,  but 
that  all  the  sacramental  bread  then  used,  was  consecrated  in 
sufficient  quantity  to  be  distributed  amongst  the  Apostles,  at  the 
same  time  and  with  the  same  form.  That  the  consecration  of 
the  chalice  also,  was  performed  in  the  same  manner,  is  obvious 
from  these  words  of  the  Saviour:  "  Take  and  divide  it  amongst 

What  has  hitherto  been  said  is  intended  to  enable  the  pastor 

i  August,  de  consec.  dist,  2.  c,  singulis. 

2  Luke  xxii.  17. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  \  0  J 

to  show,  that  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ  are  really  and  truly  proved 
contained   in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.     That  the  sub-  lrom  rea 
stance  of  the  bread  and  wine  does  not  continue  to  exist  in  the   • 
Sacrament  after  consecration,  is  the  next  subject  of  instruction 
which  is  to  engage  his  attention ;  a  truth  which,  although  well 
calculated  to  excite  our  profound  admiration,  is  yet  a  necessary 
consequence  from  what  has  been  already  established.     If,  after 
consecration,  the  body  of  Christ  is  really  and   truly  present 
under  the  species  of  bread  and  wine,  not  having  been  there 
before,  it  must  have  become  so  by  change  of  place — by  creation 
— or  by  transubstantiation.     It  cannot  be  rendered  present  by 
change  of  place,  because  it  would  then  cease  to  be  in  heaven, 
for  whatever  is  moved  must  necessarily  cease  to  occupy  the 
place  from  which  it  is  moved.     Still  less  can  we  suppose  it  to 
be  rendered  present  by  creation,  an  idea  which  the  mind  in 
stantly  rejects.     In  order  that  the  body  of  our  Lord  be  present 
in  the  Sacrament,  it  remains,  therefore,  that  it  be  rendered  pre 
sent  by  transubstantiation,  and  of  course,  that  the  substance  of 
the  bread  entirely  cease  to  exist.     Hence  our  predecessors  in  Fiom  the 
the  faith,   the  Fathers  of  the  general  Council  of  Lateran,1  and  Council* 
of  Florence,3   confirmed  by  solemn  decrees  the  truth  of  this 
Article.     In  the  Council  of  Trent  it  was  still  more  fully  denned 
in  these  words :   "  If  any  one  shall  say,  that  in  the  holy  Sacra- 
merit  of  the  Eucharist  the  substance  of  the  bread  and  wine  re 
mains,  together  with  the  body  and  blood  of  our  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  let  him  be  anathema."3     The  doctrine  thus  defined  is  a  From 
natural  inference  from   the  words  of  Scripture.     When  insti-  Script 
tuting  this  Sacrament,  our  Lord   himself  said :    "  this  is  my 
body:"4  the  word  "this,"  expresses  the  entire  substance  of  the 
thing  present ;  and  therefore,  if  the  substance  of  the  bread  re 
mained,  our  Lord  could  not  have  said  :  "  This  is  my  body." 
In  St.  John  he  also  says:   "The  bread  that  I  will  give  is  my 
flesh,  for  the  life  of  the  world:"5  the  bread  which  he  promises 
to  give,  he  here  declares  to  be  "  his  flesh."     A  little  after  he 
adds :  "  Unless  you  eat  the  flesh  of  the  Son  of  Man,  and  drink 
his  blood,  you  shall  not  have  life  in  you  :"8  and  again,  "  My  flesh 
is  meat  indeed,  and  my  blood  is  drink  indeed."7    When,  there 
fore,  in  terms  so  clear  and  so  explicit,  he  thus  calls  his  flesh 
"  meat  indeed,"  and  his  blood  "  drink  indeed,"  he  gives  us  suf 
ficiently  to  understand,  that  the  substance  of  the  bread  and  wine   - 
no  longer  exists  in  the  Sacrament.     Whoever  turns  over  the  From  t 
pages  of  the  Holy  Fathers  will  easily  perceive,  that,  on  the 
doctrine  of  Transubstantiation,  they  have  been  at  all  times  una-  o 
nimous.    St.  Ambrose  says :  "  You  say,  perhaps,  '  this  bread  is  them. 
i*o  other  than  what  is  used  for  common  food :'  before  consecra- 
iwon  it  is  indeed  bread ;  but,  no  sooner  are  the  words  of  conse- 

1  Lateran.  Concil.  c.  1. 

1  Flor.  in  epist.  Eugenii  IV.  data  ad  Arm,  et  a  Concilio  approbate 

3  Trid.  BCSS.  13,  can.  4. 

«  Matt.  xxvi.  26.    Mark  xiv  22.     Luke  xxi.  18.     1  Cor.  xi.  24. 

6  John  vi.  52.  •  John  vi.  54.  T  John  vl  56. 

14*  X 


The  Eu 
why  called 
bread  after 

The  man 
ner  in 
which  this 
is  to  be  ex 
plained  to 
the  people. 

Tlit  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

cration  pronounced,  than  from  bread  it  becomes  the  flesh  of 
Christ."1  To  prove  this  position  more  clearly,  he  elucidates 
it  by  a  variety  of  comparisons  and  examples.  In  another  place, 
when  explaining  these  words  of  the  Psalmist:  "Whatsoever 
the  Lord  pleased  he  hath  done  in  heaven  and  on  earth,"13  he 
says  :  "  Although  the  species  of  bread  and  wine  are  visible,  yet 
faith  tells  us  that  after  consecration,  the  body  and  blood  of 
Christ  are  alone  there."3  Explaining  the  same  doctrine  almost 
in  the  same  words,  St.  Hilary  says,  that  although  externally  it 
appear  bread  and  wine,  yet  in  reality  it  is  the  body  and  blood 
of  the  Lord.4 

Here  the  pastor  will  not  omit  to  observe  to  the  faithful,  that 
we  should  not  at  all  be  surprised,  if  even  after  consecration,  the 
Eucharist  is  sometimes  called  bread :  it  is  so  called  because  it 
has  the  appearance  and  still  retains  the  natural  quality  of  bread, 
which  is  to  support  and  nourish  the  body.  That  such  phrase 
ology  is  in  perfect  accordance  with  the  style  of  the  Holy  Scrip 
tures,  which  call  things  by  what  they  appear  to  be,  is  evident 
from  the  words  of  Genesis,  which  say,  that  Abraham  saw  three 
men,  when,  in  reality,  he  saw  three  angels  ;5  and  the  two  angels 
also,  who  appeared  to  the  Apostles  after  the  ascension  of  our 
Lord,  are, called  not  angels,  but  men.8 

To  explain  this  mystery  in  a  proper  manner  is  extremely  dif 
ficult.  On  the  manner  of  this  admirable  conversion,  the  pastor, 
however,  will  endeavour  to  instruct  those  who  are  more  ad 
vanced  in  the  knowledge  and  contemplation  of  divine  things : 
those  who  are  yet  weak  may,  it  were  to  be  apprehended,  be 
overwhelmed  by  its  greatness.  This  conversion,  then,  is  so 
effectuated  that  the  whole  substance  of  the  bread  and  wine  is 
changed  by  the  power  of  God,  into  the  whole  substance  of  the 
body  of  Christ,  and  the  whole  substance  of  the  wine,  into  the 
whole  substance  of  his  blood,  and  this,  without  any  change  in 
our  Lord  himself :  he  is  neither  begotten,  nor  changed,  nor  in 
creased,  but  remains  entirely  and  substantially  the  same.  This 
sublime  mystery  St.  Ambrose  thus  declares :  "  You  see  how 
efficacious  are  the  words  of  Christ;  if,  then,  the  word  of  the 
Lord  Jesus  is  so  powerful  as  to  summon  creation  into  existence, 
shall  it  not  require  a  less  exercise  of  power,  to  make  that  sub 
sist,  which  already  has  existence,  and  to  change  it  into  another 
thing  ?"7  Many  other  Fathers,  whose  authority  is  too  grave  to 
be  questioned,  have  written  to  the  same  effect:  "We  faithfully 
confess,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  that  before  consecration  it  is 
bread  and  wine,  the  produce  of  nature ;  but  after  consecration 
it  is  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  consecrated  by  the  blessing."8 
"  The  body,"  says  Damascene,  "is  truly  united  to  the  divinity, 
the  body  assumed  of  the  virgin ;  not  that  the  body  thus  assumed 

1  Lib.  4,  de  sacr.  c.  4.  et  c.  5,  c.  4.  2  Ps.  cxxxiv.  6. 

3  De  consec.  disk  2.  c.  omnia. 

4  Hilar.  de  Triri.  lib  8,  et  de  consec.  dist.  2.  cap.  28.  5Gen.  xviii.  2. 

6  Acts  i.  10.  vid.  D.  Thorn.  3,  p.  q.  75,  art.  3  et  4.        '  D.  Ambr.  lib.  4.  de  sacr  c.  4 
8  Citatur  de  consec.  dist.  2,  can.  JNos.  auteni. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  163 

descends  from  heaven,  but  that  the  bread  and  wine  are  changed 
into  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ."1     This  admirable  change,  This  con- 
as  the  Council  of  Trent  teaches,  the  Catholic  Church  most  ap-  version  ap 
propriately  expresses  by  the  word  "  transubstantiation."8  When,  caHeS'tran'- 
in  the  natural  order,  the  form  of  a  being  is  changed,  that  change  substantia- 
inay  be  properly  termed  "a  transformation;"  in  like  manner,  tioa-    . 
when,  in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist,  the  whole  substance 
of  one  thing  passes  into   the  whole  substance  of  another,  the 
change  our  predecessors  in  the  faith  wisely  and  appropriately 
called  "  transubstantiation."     But  according  to  the  admonition  A  mystery 

so  frequently  repeated  by  the  Holy  Fathers,  the  faithful  are  to  *f 

•  ,      i   •*       •          f  J  .~.  •    curiously 

be  admonished  against  the  danger  ol  gratifying  a  prurient  curi-  searched 

osity,  by  searching  into  the  manner  in  which  this  change  is  into- 
effected.     It  mocks  the  powers  of  conception,  nor  can  we  find 
any  example  of  it  in  natural  transmutations,  nor  even  in  the  wide 
range  of  creation.     The  change  itself  is  the  object  not  of  our  « 
comprehension,  but  of  our  humble  faith ;  and  the  manner  of 
that  change  forbids  the  temerity  of  a  too  curious  inquiry.8 

The  same  salutary  caution  should  also  be  observed  by  the  The  same 
pastor,  with  regard  to  the  mysterious  manner  in  which  the  body  salutary 
of  our  Lord  is  contained  whole  and  entire  under  the  least  par-  again°ne- 
ticle  of  the  bread.4     Such  inscrutable  mysteries  should  scarcely  cessarv. 
ever  become  matter  of  disquisition.     Should  Christian  charity, 
however,  require  a  departure  from  this  salutary  rule,  the  pastor 
will  recollect  first  to  prepare  and  fortify  his  hearers,  by  reminding 
them,  that  "no  word  shall  be  impossible  with  God."5 

The  pastor  will  next  teach,  that  our  Lord  is  not  in  the  Sacra-  The  hody 
ment  as  in  a  place  :  place  regards  things,  only  inasmuch  as  they  of  our  Lord 
have  magnitude ;  and  we  do  not  say  that  Christ  is  in  the  Sacra-  IhTsacrai 
ment  inasmuch  as  he  is  great  or  small,  terms  which  belong  to  ment,  not 
quantity,  but  inasmuch  as  he  is  a  substance.     The  substance  of  a®  m  a 
the  bread  is  changed  into  the  substance  of  Christ,  not  into  mag 
nitude  or  quantity ;  and  substance,  it  will  be  acknowledged,  is 
contained  in  a  small  as  well  as  in  a  large  space.    The  substance 
of  air,  for  instance,  whether  in  a  large  or  in  a  small  quantity, 
and  that  of  water  whether  confined  in  a  vessel,  or  flowing  in  a 
river,  must  necessarily  be  the  same.     As,  then,  the  body  of  our 
Lord  succeeds  to  the  substance  of  the  bread,  we  must  confess  it 
to  be  in  the  Sacrament  after  the  same  manner,  as  the  bread  was 
before  consecration:   whether  the  substance  of  the  bread  was 
present  in  greater  or  less  quantity  is  a  matter  of  entire  indif 

We  now  come  to  the  third  effect  produced  by  the  words  of  The  ai,ci- 
consecration,  the  existence  of  the  species  of  bread  and  wine  in 
the  Sacrament  without  a  subject,  an  effect  as  stupendous  as  it  is  Eucharist6 
admirable.     What  has  been  said  in  explanation  of  the  two  pre-  without  a 
ceding  points,  must  facilitate  the  exposition  of  this  mysterious  subJect- 

1  Lib.  4,  de  orthod.  fid.  c.  14. 

2  Trid.  sess.  13,  c.  4,  et  can.  2,  et  de  consec.  distinct.  2,  r.  panis.        3  Eccl.  lii.  22. 
<  D.  Thorn.  3,  p.  q.  76,  Trid.  sess.  13,  c.  3.  et  can.  3.  et  Florent.  in  decret.  Eugen. 
*  Luke  i.  37. 


Do  be*  of 
piety  to- 
wards  this 

The  Eu- 
why  inati- 
tutad  un 
der  the 
•_-..-    f 
braad  a-,- 

The  salu 

•-c: "..  .  -I- 
i.  i  :.•  :  to 
all,  and 

Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

truth.  We  have  already  proved  that  the  body  and  blood  of  oar 
Lord  are  really  and  truly  contained  in  the  Sacrament,  to  the 
entire  exclusion  of  the  substance  of  the  bread  and  wine :  the 
accidents  cannot  inhere  in  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ :  they 
must,  therefore,  contrary  to  the  physical  laws,  subsist  of  them 
selves,  inhering  in  no  subject.  This  has  been,  at  all  times,  the 
doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church ;  and  the  same  authorities  by 
which  we  have  already  proved,  that  the  substance  of  the  bread 
and  wine  ceases  to  exist  in  the  Eucharist,  go  to  establish  its 
truth.1  But  it  becomes  the  piety  of  the  faithful,  omitting  subtle 
disquisitions,  to  revere  and  adore  in  the  simplicity  of  faith,  the 
majesty  of  this  august  Sacrament ;  and  with  sentiments  of  gra 
titude  and  admiration,  to  recognise  the  wisdom  of  God  in  the 
institution  of  the  holy  mysteries,  under  the  species  of  bread 
and  wine.  To  eat  human  flesh,  or  to  drink  human  blood,  is 
most  revolting  to  human  nature,  and,  therefore,  has  God  in  his 
infinite  wisdom,  established  the  administration  of  the  body  and 
blood  of  Christ,  under  the  forms  of  bread  and  wine,  the  ordi 
nary  and  agreeable  food  of  man.  From  its  administration  under 
these  f9rms,  also  flow  two  other  important  advantages :  it  obvi 
ates  the  calumnious  reproaches  of  the  unbeliever,  to  which  a 
manducation  of  the  body  and  blood  of  our  Lord,  under  human 
form,  must  be  exposed ;  whilst,  by  receiving  him  under  a  form 
in  which  he  is  impervious  to  the  senses,  our  faith  is  augmented, 
"which,"  as  Su  Gregory  observes,  "has  no  merit  in  those 
things,  which  fall  under  the  jurisdiction  of  reason."*  But  what 
has  been  hitherto  said  on  this  subject,  demands  much  prudent 
precaution  in  its  exposition;  and  in  this  the  pastor  will  be 
guided  by  the  capacity  of  his  hearers,  by  times  and  circum 

With  regard  to  the  salutary  effects  of  this  Sacrament,  these, 
because  most  necessary  to  be  known  by  all,  the  pastor  will  ex 
pound  to  all,  indiscriminately  and  without  reserve.*  What  we 
have  said  at  such  length  on  this  subject,  is  to  be  made  known 
to  the  faithful,  principally  with  a  view  to  make  them  sensible 
of  the  advantages  which  flow  from  its  participation,  advantages 
too  numerous  and  important  to  be  expressed  in  words,  and 
amongst  which  the  pastor  must  be  content  to  select  one  or 
two  points  for  explanation,  to  show  the  superabundant  graces 
with  which  the  holy  mysteries  abound.  To  this  end  it  will  be 
found  conducive,  to  premise  an  explanation  of  the  nature  and 
efficacy  of  the  other  Sacraments,  and  then  compare  the  Eucha 
rist  to  the  living  fountain,  the  other  Sacraments  to  so  many 
rivulets.  With  great  truth  is  the  Holy  Eucharist  called  the 
fountain  of  all  grace,  containing  as  it  does,  after  an  admi- 

i  Vid.  de  ameer,  dirt.  2,  e.  No*  aalem  et  Decretal.  lib.  1,  tit.  de  Caleb.  MB*,  c. 
earn  Matt,  et  D.  Th.  3,  p.  q.  75.  a.  3,  et  q.  77.  a.  1. 

•unL  Ai^  SaaanL  bb.4.  c.  4,  Ai^.Tract.  27,  in  Joan.  D.Tboin.  p.  3,  q.  74,a 

1  et  q.  75,  a.  1. 

»  Trid. «~  13.  e.  3.  et  can.  5.  Iiw.  lib.  4,  c.  14,  Cyril  lib.  4.  in  Joan,  c,  11  et  14, 
ChrvMt.  bom.  45,  in  Joan.  D.  Tbom.  3,  p.  q.  79. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  165 

rable  manner,  the  source  of  all  gifts  and  graces,  the  author  of 
all  the  Sacraments,  Christ  our  Lord,  from  whom  as  from  their 
source,  they  derive  all  their  goodness  and  perfection.  This 
comparison,  therefore,  serves  to  show  how  great  are  the  trea 
sures  of  grace,  which  are  derived  from  this  Sacrament. 

It  will  also  be  found  expedient  to  -consider  attentively  the  na-  II 
ture  of  bread  and  wine,  the  symbols  of  this  sacrament :  what 
bread  and  wine  are  to  the  body,  the  Eucharist  is,  in  a  superior 
order,  to  the  health  and  joy  of  the  soul.  It  is  not,  like  bread 
and  wine,  changed  into  our  substance ;  but,  in  some  measure, 
changes  us  into  its  own  nature,  and  to  it  we  may  apply  these 
words  of  St.  Augustine  :  "  I  am  the  food  of  the  grown  ;  grow 
and  thou  shalt  partake  of  this  food  ;  nor  shall  thou  change  me 
into  thee,  as  thou  dost  thy  corporal  food,  but  thou  shalt  be 
changed  into  me."1  If  then  "grace  and  truth  come  by  Jesus 
Christ,"3  these  spiritual  treasures  must  be  poured  into  that  soul, 
which  receives  with  purity  and  holiness,  him  who  says  of  him 
self:  "  He  that  eateth  my  flesh  and  drinketh  my  blood,  abideth 
in  me  and  I  in  him."3  Those  who  piously  and  religiously 
receive  this  Sacrament,  receive,  no  doubt,  the  Son  of  God 
into  their  souls,  and  are  united,  as  living  members,  to  his 
body;  for  it  is  written:  "He  that  eateth  me,  the  same  also 
shall  live  by  me  ;"4  and  also:  "  The  bread  that  I  will  give  is  my 
flesh,  for  the  life  of  the  world."5  Explaining  these  words  of 
the  Saviour,  St.  Cyril  says  :  "The  Eternal  Word,  uniting  him 
self  to  his  own  flesh,  imparted  to  it  a  vivifying  power ;  it  be 
came  him,  therefore,  to  unite  himself  to  us  after  a  wonderful 
manner,  through  his  sacred  flesh  and  precious  blood,  which 
we  receive  in  the  bread  and  wine,  consecrated  by  his  vivifying 

But  when  it  is  said,  that  this  Sacrament  imparts  grace,  it  is  Tocommu- 
not  intended  to  mean  that,  to  receive  this  Sacrament  with  advan-  Uiju,1^'0'" 
tage,  it  is  unnecessary  to  be  previously  in  the  state  of  grace,  must  be  in 
Natural  food  can  be  of  no  use  to  a  person  who  is  already  dead,  the  state  of 
and  in  like  manner  the  sacred  mysteries  can  avail  him  nothing,  gl 
who  lives  not  in  Spirit.     Hence  this  Sacrament  has  been  insti 
tuted  under  the  forms  of  bread  and  wine,  to  signify,  that  the 
object  of  its  institution  is  not  to  recall  to  life  a  dead  soul,  but  to 
preserve  life  to  a  living  one.     We  say  that  this  Sacrament  im 
parts  grace,  because  even  the  first  grace,  which  all  should  have 
before  they  presume  to  approach  this  Sacrament,  le^st  they 
"  eat  and  drink  judgment  to  themselves,"7  is  given  to  none  un- 
less  they  desire  to  receive  the  Holy  Eucharist,  which  is  the  end 
of  all  the  Sacraments,  the   symbol  of  ecclesiastical  unity,  to 
which  he  who  does  not  belong,  cannot  receive  divine  grace. 
Again,  as  the  body  is  not  only  supported  but  increased  by  na 
tural  food,  from  which  we  derive  new  pleasure  every  day  ;  so 
nlso  the  life  of  the  soul  is  not  only  sustained  but  invigorated  by 

1  Lib.  7.  Conf  c.  10.  Vid.  Arabr.  lib.  5.  de  sacr.  c.  4  et  Crys.  horu.  45.  in  Joan. 

2  John  i.  17.  »  John  vi.  57.  *  John  vl  58.  5  John  vi.  52. 
6  Lib.  4.  in  Joan,  c.  12, 14.  et  ep.  10.  ad  Nestor.                        ?  1  Cor.  xi.  29. 

166  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

feasting  on  the  Eucharistic  banquet,  which  imparts  to  it  an  iu 

creasing  zest  for  heavenly  things.    With  strictest  truth  and  pro 

priety,  therefore,  do  we  say  that  this  Sacrament,  which  may  be 

well  compared  to  manna,  "having  in  it  all  that  is  delicious,  and 

the  sweetness  of  every  taste,"  imparts  grace  to  the  soul.1 

II.  That  the  Holy  Eucharist  remits  lighter  offences,  or,  as  they 

The  Eu-      are  commonly  called,  venial  sins,  cannot  be  matter  of  doubt. 

charistre-    \yhatever  losses  the  soul  sustains  by  falling  into  some  slight 

sins.  offences,  through  the  violence  of  passion,  these  the  Eucharist, 

which  cancels  lesser  sins,  repairs  in  the  same  manner,  not  to 

depart  from  the  illustration  already  adduced,  that  natural  food, 

as  we  know  from  experience,  gradually  repairs  the  daily  waste 

caused  by  the  vital  heat  of  the  system.     Of  this  heavenly  Sa 

crament  justly,  therefore,  has  St.  Ambrose  said:     "This  daily 

bread  is  taken  as  a  remedy  for  daily  infirmity."2  This,  however, 

is  to  be  understood  of  venial  imperfections  only. 

HI.  The  Holy  Eucharist  is  also  an  antidote  against  the  contagion 

Is  an  an-      of  sin,  and  a  shield  against  the  violent  assaults  of  temptation.3 

againstthe  ^  *s'  as  ^  were>  a  heavenly  medicine,  which  secures  the  soul 

contagion    against  the  easy  approach  of  virulent  and  deadly  infection.     St. 

of  sins.        Cyprian  records  that  when,  in  the  early  ages  of  the  Church, 

Christians  were  hurried  in  multitudes  by  tyrants,  to  torments 

and  death,  because  they  professed  the  name  of  Christ,  they  re 

ceived  from  the  hand  of  the  bishop,  the  Sacrament  of  the  body 

and  blood  of  our  Lord,  lest,  perhaps  overcome  by  excess  of 

IV.  torments,  they  should  yield  in  the  saving  conflict.4     It  also  re- 
Represses    presses  the  licentious  desires  of  the  flesh,  and  keeps  them  in 
concupis-     £ue  subjection  to  the  spirit  :    in   proportion  as  it  inflames  the 

soul  with  the  fire  of  charity,  in  the  same  proportion  does  it  ne- 

V.  cessarily  extinguish  the  fire  of  concupiscence.     Finally,  to  nar- 
Facilitates   row  within  the  compass  of  a  few  words  all  the  advantages  and 
menTof1"    blessings  which  emanate  from  this  Sacrament,  the  Holy  Eucha- 
eternallife.  rist  facilitates  to  an  extraordinary  degree,  the  attainment  of  eter 

nal  life:  "He  that  eateth  my  flesh,  and  drinketh  my  blood," 
says  the  Redeemer,  "  hath  everlasting  life,  and  I  will  raise  him 
up  on  the  last  day."5  The  grace  which  it  imparts,  brings 
peace  and  tranquillity  to  the  soul  ;  and  when  the  hour  shall  have 
arrived  in  which  he  is  to  take  his  departure  from  this  mortal 
life,  like  another  Elias,  who  in  the  strength  of  his  miraculous 
repast,  walked  to  Horeb  the  mount  of  God,8  the  Christian,  invi 
gorated  by  the  strengthening  influence  of  this  heavenly  food, 
shall  wing  his  way  to  the  mansions  of  everlasting  glory  and 
These  ef  never-ending  bliss.  All  these  important  particulars  the  pastor 
fects  ex-  wju  De  able  fully  to  expound  to  the  faithful,  if  he  but  dilate  on 

1  Wisd.  xvi.  20. 

2  Lib.  4.  de  Sacram.  c.  6.  et  lib.  c.  4.  Innocent.  Til    lib.  4.  de  myst.  Miss.  c,  44. 
Cvrill.  lib.  4.  in  Joan,  c.  17.  et  lib.  3.  c.  36.   Inter  opera  D.  Bernard!  habetur  cujus- 
dam  senno  doniirn,  qui  incipit:    PAN  EM  ANGELORUM,  et  singular-is  est  de 
Euchar.  videatur,  et  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  79. 

3  Aug.  tract.  26.  in  Joan.  4  Lib.  l.Epist.  2.  ad  Cornel. 
s  John  vi.  55.  Vul  Chrys.  de  sacerdotic,  dial.  c.  D.  Thorn.  3.  p.  q.  79.  art.  2. 
fi  3  Kings  xix.  8 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  167 

the  sixth  chapter  of  St.  John,  in  which  are  developed  the  mani-  plained 
fold  effects  of  this  Sacrament ;    or  if,  glancing  through  the  life  t™jej3u3' 
and  actions  of  our  Lord,  he  shows  that  if  they  who   received 
him  beneath  their  roof  during  his  mortal  life,1  or  were  restored 
to  health  by  touching  his  vesture,  or  even  the  hem  of  his  gar 
ment,2  were  justly  deemed  happy,  how  much  more  harrpy  we, 
into  whose  souls,  resplendent  as  he  is  with  unfading  glory,  he,, 
disdains  not  to  enter,  to  heal  all  our  spiritual  wounds,  to  enrich 
us  with  his  choicest  gifts,  and  to  unite  us  to  himself ! 

But  to  excite  the  faithful  to  emulate  better  gifts,3  the  pastor  The  man- 
will  also  point  out  who  they  are  who  derive  these  inestimable  nerofcom- 
...  ..-r-iii  •  •!•        rounicating 

blessings  from  a  participation  of  the  holy  mysteries,  reminding  threefold: 

them  that  Christians  may  communicate  differently  and  with  dif 
ferent  effects.  Hence  our  predecessors  in  the  faith,  as  we  read 
in  the  Council  of  Trent,4  distinguished  three  classes  of  commu 
nicants — Some  receive  the  Sacrament  only:  such  are  those  sin-  Sacramei 
ners  who  dread  not  to  approach  the  holy  mysteries  with  pol-  y> 
luted  lips  and  depraved  hearts,  Avho,  as  the  Apostle  says,  "  eat 
and  drink  unworthily."5  Of  this  class  of  communicants  St. 
Augustine  says  :  "  He  who  dwells  not  in  Christ,  and  in  whom 
Christ  does  not  dwell,  most  certainly  eats  not  spiritually  his 
flesh,  although  carnally  and  visibly  he  press  with  his  teeth  the 
Sacrament  of  his  flesh  and  blood."8  Not  only,  therefore,  do 
those  who  receive  the  Holy  Eucharist  with  these  dispositions, 
obtain  no  fruit  from  its  participation,  but,  as  the  Apostle  says, 
"  they  eat  and  drink  judgment  to  themselves."7  Others  are  Spiritually 
said  to  receive  the  Holy  Eucharist  in  spirit  only  :  they  are  those 
who,  inflamed  with  a  lively  "  faith  that  worketh  by  charity,"8 
participate  in  desire,  of  this  celestial  food,  from  which  they  re 
ceive,  if  not  the  entire,  at  least  very  considerable  fruit.  Lastly,  Sacramen- 
there  are  some  who  receive  the  Holy  Eucharist  both  spiritually 
and  sacramentally,  those  who,  according  to  the  advice  of  the 
Apostle,  having  first  proved  themselves,9  approach  this  divine 
banquet,  adorned  with  the  nuptial  garment,10  and  derive  from  it 
all  those  superabundant  graces  which  we  have  already  mentioned. 
Those,  therefore,  who,  having  it  in  their  power  to  receive,  with 
due  preparation,  the  Sacrament  of  the  body  and  blood  of  the 
Lord,  are  yet  satisfied  with  a  spiritual  communion  only,  manifestly 
deprive  themselves  of  a  heavenly  treasure  of  inestimable  value. 
We  now  come  to  point  out  the  manner  in  which  the  faithful 
should  be  previously  prepared  for  sacramental  communion.  To  Necessity 

demonstrate  the  necessity  of  this  previous  preparation,  the  ex-  of  Previoul 

i       c  ^i      o  -i  i       £  •  i  <•  i        -11    /•         pre para- 

ample  or  the  baviour  is  to  be  proposed  to  the  faithful.     Before  tion. 

he  gave  to  his  Apostles  the  Sacrament  of  his  body  and  blood, 
although  they  were  already  clean,  he  washed  their  feet,  to  de 
clare  that  we  must  use  extreme  diligence  to  bring  with  us  to  its 
participation  the  greatest  integrity  and  innocence  of  soul.  In 

i  Luke  xix.  9.  2  Matt.  xiv.  36  and  ix.  20.  3  1  Cor.  xii.  31. 

*  De  corisecr.  dist.  2.  can.  46  sess.  13.  cap.  8.  »  1  Cor.  xi.  29. 

6  In  Joan,  tract.  16.  et  contra  Donat.  lib.  5.  c.  8.  '  1  Cor.  xi.  29. 

»  Gal.  v.  6.  9  1  Cor.  xi.  28.  ">  Matt.  xxii.  11 


168  Tlie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  next  place,  the  faithful  are  to  understand  that  as  he  who  ap 
proaches  thus  prepared  and  disposed,  is  adorned  with  the  most 
ample  gifts  of  heavenly  grace,  so  on  the  contrary,  he  who  ap 
proaches  without  this  preparation  and  without  these  disposi 
tions,  not  only  derives  from  it  no  advantage,  but  plunges  his 
own  soul  into  the  most  unutterable  misery.  It  is  the  property 
of  the  best  and  most  salutary  medicine,  if  seasonably  applied, 
to  be  productive  of  the  greatest  benefit,  but  if  unseasonably,  to 
prove  most  pernicious  and  destructive.  It  cannot,  therefore, 
excite  our  surprise,  that  the  great  and  exalted  gifts  of  God,  when 
received  into  a  soul  properly  predisposed,  are  of  the  greatest 
assistance  towards  the  attainment  of  salvation  ;  whilst  to  those 
who  receive  them  without  these  necessary  dispositions,  they 
bring  with  them  eternal  death.  Of  this,  the  Ark  of  the  Lord 
affords  a  convincing  illustration:  the  people  of  Israel  possessed 
nothing  more  precioas ;  it  was  to  them  the  source  of  innume 
rable  blessings  from  God ;  but,  when  borne  off  by  the  Philis 
tines,  it  brought  on  them  a  most  destructive  plague  and  the 
heaviest  calamities,  heightened,  as  they  were,  by  eternal  dis 
grace.1  Food  when  received  into  a  healthy  stomach  nourishes 
and  supports  the  body  ;  but  the  same  food,  when  received  into 
a  stomach  replete  with  peccant  humours,  generates  malignant 

The  first  preparation,  then,  which  the  faithful  should  make, 
is  to  distinguish  table  from  table,  this  sacred  table  from  profane 
tables,3  this  celestial  bread  from  common  bread.  This  we  do 
when  we  firmly  believe,  that  the  Eucharist  really  and  truly  con 
tains  the  body  and  blood  of  the  Lord,  of  him  whom  the  angels 
adore  in  heaven,  "at  whose  nod  the  pillars  of  heaven  fear  and 
tremble,"4  of  whose  glory  the  heavens  and  the  earth  are  full.5 
This  is  to  discern  the  body  of  the  Lord,  in  accordance  with  the 
admonition  of  the  Apostle,8  venerating  rather,  the  greatness  of 
the  mystery,  than  too  curiously  investigating  its  truth  by  idle 

Second,  disquisjtion.  Another  very  necessary  preparation  is  to  ask  our 
selves,  if  we  are  at  peace  with,  if  we  sincerely  and  from  the 
heart  love  our  neighbour.  "  If,  therefore,  thou  oflferest  thy 
gift  at  the  altar,  and  there  rememberest,  that  thy  brother  hath 
aught  against  thee,  leave  there  thy  offering  before  the  altar,  and 
go  first  to  be  reconciled  to  thy  brother,  and  then  coming  thou 

Third  shalt  offer  thy  gift."7  We  should  in  the  next  place,  carefully 
examine  our  consciences,  lest  perhaps  they  be  defiled  by  mortal 
guilt,  which  sincere  repentance  alone  can  efface.  This  severe 
scrutiny  is  necessary  in  order  to  cleanse  the  soul  from  its  defile 
ment,  by  applying  to  it  the  salutary  medicine  of  contrition  and 
confession.  The  Council  of  Trent  has  defined,  that  no  one 

First  pre 
paration  ; 

1  1  Kings  v.  toto. 

2  De  preeparatione  ad  Euch.  requisite  vide  Trid,  sens.  13.  c.  7.  et  can.  11.    Basil, 
q.  172.  regul.  brev.  et  serm.  2.  de  hapt.  Cyprian,  toto  fere  lib.  de  Lapsis,  agendo  do 
Pcenit.  Aug.  serni.  1.  de  Temj.  Chrys.  horn.  44,  45,  46.  in  Joan,  et  in  Matt.  horn.  83 

3  1  Cor.  x.  21.  <  Job  xxvi.  11.  *  Isa.  vi.  3 
6  1  Cor.  xi.  29.                                                      '  Matt  v.  24,  25. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  1 69 

conscious  of  mortal  sin,  and  having  an  opportunity  of  recurring 
to  a  confessor,  however  contrite  he  may  deem  himself,  is  to  ap 
proach  the  Holy  Eucharist,  until  he  has  been  purified  by  sacra 
mental  confession.1  We  should  also  reflect  in  the  silence  of  our  Fourth, 
own  hearts,  how  unworthy  we  are  that  God  should  bestow  on 
us  this  divine  gift,  and  with  the  Centurion,  of  whom  our  Lord 
declared,  that  he  found  not  "  so  great  faith  in  Israel,"  we  should 
exclaim  :  "  Lord,  I  am  not  worthy  that  thou  shouldst  enter 
under  my  roof."3  We  should  also  put  the  question  to  ourselves,  Fifth, 
whether  we  can  truly  say  with  Peter :  "  Lord,  thou  knowest 
that  I  love  thee  ;"3  and  should  recollect,  that  he  who  sat  down 
at  the  marriage  feast  without  a  nuptial  garment,  was  cast  into 
exterior  darkness,  and  condemned  to  eternal  torments.4 

Our  preparation  should  not,  however,  be  confined  to  the  soul :  Sixth, 
it  should  also  extend  to  the  body.  We  are  to  approach  the 
Holy  Eucharist  fasting,  having  neither  eaten  nor  drunk,  at  least 
from  the  preceding  midnight.5  The  dignity  of  so  great  a  Sa 
crament  also  demands,  that  married  persons  abstain  from  the 
marriage-debt,  for  some  days  previous  to  communion,  an  ob 
servance  recommended  by  the  example  of  David,  who,  when 
about  to  receive  the  show-bread  from  the  hands  of  the  priest, 
declared,  that  he  and  his  servants  had  been  "  clean  from  women 
for  three  days."8  These  particulars  contain  a  summary  of  the 
principal  things  to  be  observed  by  the  faithful,  preparatory  to 
receiving  the  sacred  mysteries ;  and  to  these  heads  may  be  re 
duced,  whatever  other  preparations  piety  will  suggest  to  the 
devout  communicant.7 

But  that  none  may  be  deterred  by  the  difficulty  of  the  prepa-  All  bound 
ration  from  approaching  the  Holy  Eucharist,  the  faithful  are  to  comma- 
frequently  to  be  reminded  that  they  are   all  bound  to  receive  ^year^at06 
this  Sacrament;  and  that  the  Church  has  decreed  that  whoever  Easter' 
neglects  to  approach  the  holy  communion  once  a  year,  at  Easter, 
subjects  himself  to  sentence  of  excommunication.8     However,  Importance 
let  not  the  faithful  imagine  that  it  is  enough  to  receive  the  body  of  frequent 
of  the  Lord  once  a  year  only,  in  obedience  to  the  decree  of  the 
Church :    they  should  approach  oftener  ;  but  whether  monthly, 
weekly,  or  daily,  cannot  be  decided  by  any  fixed  universal  rule. 
St.  Augustine,  however,  lays  down  a  most  certain  rule  applicable 
to  all — "Live,"  says  he,  "  in  such  a  manner  as  to  be  able  to  re 
ceive  every  day."8     It  will  therefore  be  the  duty  of  the  pastor 
frequently  to  admonish  the  faithful,  that  as  they  deem  it  neces 
sary  to  afford  daily  nutriment  to  the  body,  they  should  also  feel 

'  Sess.  13.  can.  11.  Chrys.  horn.  30,  in  Genes,  et  20.  in  Matth.  Cypr.  in  lib.  de 

2  Matt.  viii.  8.  10.  3  john  xxi.  15.  <  Matt.  xxii.  12, 13. 

*  Vid.  Aug.  epist.  118.  e.  6.  etlib.  inquis.  Januarii  c.  6. 

6  1  Kings  xxi.  3  4, 5. 

7  Greg,  in  responsione  10.  ad  interrog.  Aug.  et  hab.  33.  q.  4,  c.  7.  Aug.  serm.  2. 
de  temp,  et  2,  4. 

»  Concil.  Lat  c.  28.  et  habetur  lib.  5.  Decret.  tit.  de  Pcenit.  et  remiss,  cap.  omnis 
utriusque  sexus.Trid.  sess.  13,  9. 

9  St.  Aug.  de  verbis  Domini,  ser.  28,  qui  desumptus  est  ex.  Arab.  lib.  5.  de 
sacram.  c.  4. 

15  Y 


Daily  com 
the  prac 
tice  of  the 

Thrice  a 
year,  sub 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

solicitous  to  feed  and  nourish  the  soul  every  day  with  this  hea 
venly  food.  The  soul  stands  not  less  in  need  of  spiritual,  than 
the  body  of  corporal  food.  Here  it  will  be  found  most  useful 
to  recapitulate  the  inestimable  advantages  which,  as  we  have 
already  shown,  flow  from  sacramental  communion,  and  the 
manna  also  which  was  a  figure  of  this  Sacrament,  and  of  which 
the  Israelites  had  occasion  to  partake  every  day,  may  be  used 
as  a  further  illustration.1  The  Fathers,  who  earnestly  recom 
mended  the  frequent  participation  of  this  Sacrament,  may  be 
adduced  as  additional  authority  to  enforce  the  necessity  of  fre 
quent  communion  ;  and  the  words,  "  thou  sinnest  daily,  receive 
daily,"  convey  the  sentiments  not  alone  of  St.  Augustine,  but 
of  all  the  Fathers  who  have  written  on  the  subject.3 

That  there  was  a  time  when  the  faithful  approached  the  Holy 
Communion  every  day,  we  learn  from  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles. 
All  who  then  professed  the  faith  of  Christ,  burned  with  such 
pure  and  ardent  charity,  that  devoting  themselves,  as  they  did 
unceasingly,  to  prayer  and  other  works  of  piety,3  they  were 
found  prepared  to  communicate  daily.  This  devout  practice, 
which  seems  to  have  been  interrupted  for  a  time,  was  again 
partially  revived  by  Pope  Anacletus,  a  most  holy  martyr,  who 
commanded,  that  all  the  ministers  who  assisted  at  the  holy  sa 
crifice,  should  communicate,  an  ordinance,  as  the  Pontiff' declares, 
of  Apostolic  institution.4  It  was  also  for  a  long  time  the  prac 
tice  of  the  Church,  that,  as  soon  as  the  sacrifice  was  ended,  the 
priest,  turning  to  the  congregation,  invited  the  faithful  to  the 
holy  table  in  these  words :  "  Come,  brethren,  and  receive  the 
communion  ;"  and  those  who  were  prepared,  advanced  to  re 
ceive  the  holy  mysteries  with  hearts  animated  by  the  most  fer 
vent  devotion.5  But  subsequently,  when  charity  and  devotion 
declined  amongst  Christians,  and  the  faithful  very  seldom  ap 
proached  the  holy  communion,  it  was  decreed  by  Pope  Fabian, 
that  all  should  communicate  thrice  every  year,  at  Christmas,  at 
Easter,  and  at  Pentecost,  a  decree  which  was  afterwards  con 
firmed  by  many  Councils,  particularly  by  the  first  of  Agath.6 
Such,  at  length,  was  the  decay  of  piety,  that  not  only  was  this 
holy  and  salutary  practice  unobserved,  but  communion  was  de 
ferred  for  years.  The  Council  of  Lateran,  therefore,  decreed 
that  all  the  faithful  should  communicate,  at  least,  once  a  year, 
at  Easter,  and  that  the  omission  should  be  chastised  by  exclu- 

1  Exod.  xvi.  21,  22. 

2  Ad  frequentem  communionem  hortantur  Auguatin.  de  verbis  Domini  serm.  28. 
sed  hie  sermo  cum  nonsit  August,  sed  Ambr.  lib.  5.  de  sacram  c.  4.  rejectus  est  in 
appendicem  tomi  10.  item  vide  eundem  Aug.  Epist.  118.  c.  3.  item,  Ignat.  ad  Kphes. 
satis  ante  finem.    Basil.  Epist.  ad  Cajsar.  patr.  Ambr.  lib.  3.  de  sacr.  c.  4.  Chrysost. 
horn.  61.  ad  pop.  Antioch.  Cypr.  de  Ora.  Dominica  ad  hffic  verba,  panem  nostram 
quot  Hieron.  Epist.  28,  ad  Lucin.  vers.  finem.  Cyril,  c.  3.  in  Joan.  c.  37.  vide  etiarn 
de  consecr.  dist.  2.  per  multa  capita  hac  de  re. 

3  Acts  ii.  42.  46.  4  De  consec.  dist  2,  c.  10. 

5  De  quotidiana  communione  vide  Dionys.  de  Eccles.  Hierarch.  c.  3,  parte  2, 
Hieron.  Epist.  28,  ad  Luein.Greg.  lib.  2,  dialog,  c.  23.  Item  vide  lib.  de  Eccl  dog- 
mat,  c.  53,  et  citatur  de  consec.  dist.  2,  c.  13. 

6  Fab.  decret  habes  de  cons.  dist.  2.  c.  16.  et  ib.  citatur  Concil.  Agathensc  c.  18. 
c.  saeculares. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  171 

sion  from  the  society  of  the  faithful.1     But  although  this  law,  To  whom 
sanctioned,  as  it  is,  by  the  authority  of  God  and  of  his  Church,  H^,0^/1^ 
regards  all  the  faithful,  the  pastor,  however,  will  teach  that  it  law  ex 
does  not  extend  to  persons  who  have  not  arrived  at  the  years  tends. 
of  discretion,  because  they  are  incapable  of  discerning  the  Holy 
Eucharist  from  common  food,  and  cannot  bring  with  them  to 
this  Sacrament,  the  piety  and  devotion  which  it  demands.     To 
extend  the  precept  to  them  would  appear  inconsistent  with  the 
institution  of  this  Sacrament  by  our  Lord:     "Take,"  says  he, 
"  and  eat,"a  words  which  cannot  apply  to  infants,  who  are  evi 
dently  incapable  of  taking  and   eating.     In  some   places,  it  is 
true,  an  ancient  practice  prevailed  of  giving  the  Holy  Eucharist  TheEu- 
even  to  infants  ;3  but,  for  the  reasons  already  assigned,  and  for  char'^t  an 
other  reasons  most  consonant  to  Christian  piety,  this  practice  given  to  in- 
has  been  long  discontinued  by  authority  of  the  same  Church.  fants- 
With  regard  to  the  age  at  which  children  should  be  admitted  to 
communion,  this  the  parents  and  confessor  can  best  determine  : 
to  them  it  belongs  to  ascertain  whether  the  children  have  ac 
quired  a  competent  knowledge  of  this  admirable  Sacrament,  and 
desire  to  taste  this  bread  of  angels. 

From  persons  labouring  under  actual  insanity  the  Sacrament  When  to 
should  also  be  withheld.     However,  according  to  the  decree  of  be.  g|ven; 

i       /i  -i      f  t~t  •  i     •    •  i       when  not 

the  Council  of  Carthage,  it  may  be  administered  to  them  at  the  to  be  given 
close  of  life,  provided  they  had  evinced,  previously  to  their  in-  to  insane 
sanity,  a  sincerely  pious  desire  of  being  admitted  to  its  partici-  ^r' 
pation,  and  if  no  danger  arising  from  the  state  of  the  stomach 
or  other  inconvenience  or  indignity,  is  to  be  apprehended.4 

As  to  the  rite  to  be  observed  in  the  administration  of  this  Sa-  To  be  re 
crament,  the  pastor  will  teach  that  the  law  of  the  Church  inter-  ^g^u^u11 
diets  its  administration  under  both  kinds  to  any  but  to  the  offi-  kinds  by 
ciating   priest,   unless   by  special   permission  of  the   Church.  tne  offitia 
Christ,  it  is   true,   as  has  been   explained  by  the  Council  of  o'nflfand 
Trent,5  instituted  and  administered  to  his  Apostles,  at  his  last  why. 
supper,  this  great  Sacrament  under  both  kinds  ;  but  it  does  not 
follow  of  necessity,  that  by  doing  so  he  established  a  law  ren 
dering  its  administration  to  the  faithful  under  both  species  impe 
rative.     Speaking  of  this  sacrament  he  himself  frequently  men 
tions  it  under  one  kind  only :   "  If,"  says  he,  "  any  man  eat  of 
this  bread,  he  shall  live  for  ever,  and  the  bread  that  I  will  give 
is  my  flesh  for  the  life  of  the  world,"  and,  "  He  that  eateth  this 
bread  shall  live  for  ever."8     The  Church,  no  doubt,  was  influ 
enced  by  numerous  and  cogent  reasons,  not  only  to  approve  but 
confirm  by  solemn  decree,  the  general  practice  of  communica 
ting  under  one  species.     In  the  first  place,  the  greatest  caution         \ 

1  Citat.  lib.  5.  deer.  tit.  de  peen.  et  remiss,  c.  omnes  utriusque  sexus. 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  26.  3  Cypr.  de  Lapsis  post  med.  4  Cone.  Cath.  4.  76. 
s  Sess>.  21.  decem.  sub  utraque  specie  can.  1. 2.  3. 

6  John  vi.  52.  59.  Unius  tantum  speciei  usum  suflicere  ad  perfectam  commu- 
nionem  colliges  ex  Tertull.  lib.  2.  ad  uxorem.  Cypr.  de  Lapsis.  Orig.  horn.  13.  in  Ex- 
od.  Basil,  epist.  ad  Caesar,  patr.  Aug.  ep.  86.  Hier.  in  Apol.  ad  Pammach.  Chrysost. 
torn.  41.  operis  imperf.  in  Matth. 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 





was  necessary  to  avoid  accident  or  indignity,  which  must  be 
come  almost  inevitable,  if  the  chalice  were  administered  in  a 
crowded  assemblage.  In  the  next  place,  the  Holy  Eucharist 
should  be  at  all  times  in  readiness  for  the  sick,  and  if  the  spe 
cies  of  wine  remained  long  unconsumed,  it  were  to  be  appre 
hended  that  it  may  become  vapid.  Besides,  there  are  many 
who  cannot  bear  the  taste  or  smell  of  wine ;  lest,  therefore, 
what  is  intended  for  the  nutriment  of  the  soul  should  prove  nox 
ious  to  the  health  of  the  body,  the  Church,  in  her  wisdom,  has 
sanctioned  its  administration  under  the  species  of  bread  alone. 
We  may  also  observe  that  in  many  places  wine  is  extremely 
scarce,  nor  can  it  be  brought  from  distant  countries  without  in 
curring  very  heavy  expense,  and  encountering  very  tedious  and 
difficult  journeys.  Finally,  a  circumstance  which  principally 
influenced  the  Church  in  establishing  this  practice,  means  were 
to  be  devised  to  crush  the  heresy  which  denied  that  Christ, 
whole  and  entire,  is  contained  under  either  species,  and  asserted 
that  the  body  is  contained  under  the  species  of  bread  without 
the  blood,  and  the  blood  under  the  species  of  wine  without  the 
body.  This  object  was  attained  by  communion  under  the  spe 
cies  of  bread  alone,  which  places,  as  it  were,  sensibly  before 
our  eyes,  the  truth  of  the  Catholic  faith.  Those  who  have  writ 
ten  expressly  on  this  subject,  will,  if  it  appear  necessary,  fur 
nish  the  pastor  with  additional  reasons  for  the  practice  of  the 
Catholic  Church  in  the  administration  of  the  Holy  Eucharist. 
To  omit  nothing  doctrinal  on  so  important  a  subject,  we  now 
come  to  speak  of  the  minister  of  the  sacrament,  a  point,  how 
ever,  on  which  scarcely  any  one  is  ignorant.  The  pastor  then 
will  teach,  that  to  priests  alone  has  been  given  power  to  con 
secrate  and  administer  the  Holy  Eucharist.  That  the  unvary 
ing  practice  of  the  Church  has  also  been,  that  the  faithful  re 
ceive  the  Sacrament  from  the  hand  of  the  priest,  and  that  the 
priest  communicate  himself,  has  been  explained  by  the  Council 
of  Trent;"1  and  the  same  holy  Council  has  shown  that  this 
practice  is  always  to  be  scrupulously  adhered  to,  stamped,  as  it 
is,  with  the  authoritative  impress  of  Apostolic  tradition,  and 
sanctioned  by  the  illustrious  example  of  our  Lord  himself,  who, 
with  his  own  hands,  consecrated  and  gave  to  his  disciples,  his 
most  sacred  body.9 

To  consult  as  much  as  possible,  for  the  dignity  of  this  so  au- 

gust  a  Sacrament,  not  only  is  its  administration  confined  exclu- 

the  sacred   sively  to  the  priestly  order,  but  the  Church  has  also,  by  an  ex- 
vessels,       press  law,  prohibited  any  but  those  who  are  consecrated  to  re 
ligion,  unless  in  case  of  necessity,  to  touch  the  sacred  vessels, 
tho  linen,    or   other   immediate    necessaries   for   consecration. 
Priests  and  people  may  hence  learn  what  piety  and  holiness 
Efficacy  of  they  should  possess  who  consecrate,  administer,  or  receive  the 
r\ai  noTaf^"  Holy  of  Holies.     The   Eucharist,  however,  as  was  observed 
fec'ed  by     with  regard  to  the  other  Sanraments,  whether  administered  by 

til  me,  the 
of  the  Eu 

The  laity 
to  touch 

Sess.  13,  c.  10. 

2  Matt.  xxvi.  26.    Matt.  xiv.  23 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  1 75 

holy  or  unholy  hands,  is  equally  valid.     It  is  of  faith  that  the  the  merit 
efficacy  of  the  Sacraments  does  not  depend  on  *he  merit  of  the  °f  th^"1 
minister,  but  on  the  virtue  and  power  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  nister. 

With  regard  to  the  Eucharist  as  a  Sacrament,  these  are  the  TheEu- 
principal  points  which  demanded  explanation.  Its  nature  as  a 
sacrifice  we  now  come  to  explain,  that  pastors  may  know  what 
are  the  principal  instructions  to  be  communicated  to  the  faithful 
regarding  this  mystery,  on  Sundays  and  holidays,  in  compli 
ance  with  the  decree  of  the  Council  of  Trent.1  Not  only  is 
this  Sacrament  a  treasure  of  heavenly  riches,  which  if  we  turn 
to  good  account  will  purchase  for  us  the  favour  and  friendship 
of  heaven  ;  but  it  also  possesses  the  peculiar  and  extraordinary 
value,  that  in  it  we  are  enabled  to  make  some  suitable  return  to 
God  for  the  inestimable  benefits  bestowed  on  us  by  his  bounty. 
If  duly  and  legitimately  offered,  this  victim  is  most  grateful  and 
most  acceptable  to  God.  If  the  sacrifices  of  the  old  law,  of 
which  it  is  written:  "Sacrifices  and  oblations  thou  wouldst 
not  :"3  and  also,  "  If  thou  hadst  desired  sacrifice,  I  would,  in 
deed,  have  given  it :  with  burnt-offering  thou  wilt  not  be  de 
lighted,"3  were  so  acceptable  in  his  sight  that,  as  the  Scripture 
testifies,  from  them  "  he  smelt  a  sweet  savour,"4  that  is  to  say, 
they  were  grateful  and  acceptable  to  him  ;  what  have  we  not 
to  hope  from  the  efficacy  of  a  sacrifice  in  which  is  immolated 
and  offered  no  less  a  victim  than  he,  of  whom  a  voice  from 
heaven  twice  proclaimed:  "This  is  my  beloved  Son,  in  whom 
I  am  well  pleased."5  This  mystery,  therefore,  the  pastor  will 
carefully  explain  to  the  people,  that  when  assembled  at  its  cele 
bration,  they  may  learn  to  make  it  the  subject  of  attentive  and 
devout  meditation. 

He  will  teach,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  Eucharist  was  insti-  Instituted 
tuted  by  our  Lord  for  two  great  purposes,  to  be  the  celestial 
food  of  the  soul,  preserving  and  supporting  spiritual  life,  and  to 
give  to  the  Church  a  perpetual  sacrifice,  by  which  sin  may  be 
expiated,  and  our  heavenly  Father,  whom  our  crimes  have  often 
grievously  offended,  may  be  turned  from  wrath  to  mercy,  from 
the  severity  of  just  vengeance  to  the  exercise  of  benignant 
clemency.  Of  this  the  paschal  lamb,  which  was  offered  and 
eaten  by  the  Israelites  as  a  sacrament  and  sacrifice,  was  a  lively 
figure.8  Nor  could  our  divine  Lord,  when  about  to  offer  him-  Reflection 
self  to  his  eternal  Father  on  the  altar  of  the  cross,  have  given 
a  more  illustrious  proof  of  his  unbounded  love  for  us,  than  by 
bequeathing  to  us  a  visible  sacrifice,  by  which  the  bloody  sa 
crifice,  which,  a  little  after,  was  to  be  offered  once  on  the  cross, 
was  to  be  renewed,  and  its  memory  celebrated  daily  throughout 
the  universal  Church  even  to  the  consummation  of  time,  to  the 
great  advantage  of  her  children. 

The    difference  between  the  Eucharist  as  a  sacrament  and  The  difle- 
.sacrifice  is  very  great,  and  is  two-fold  :  as  a  sacrament  it  is  per-  [^ 

Seas.  22.  princip.  c.  8  2  Pa.  xim.  7.          J  Pa.  1.  18.          <  Gen  viii.  21 . 

»Mattiii.  17.  6Deut.  16. 


174  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Eucharist    fected  by  consecration,  as  a  sacrifice  all  its  efficacy  consists  in 
menumd"    its  °blation.     When  deposited  in  a  tabernacle,  or  borne  to  the 
sacrifice,      sick,  it  is,  therefore,  a  sacrament,  not  a  sacrifice.     As  a  sacra- 
two-fold,      ment,  it  is  also  to  the  worthy  receiver  a  source  of  merit,  and 
brings  with  it  all  those  advantages  which  we  have  already  men 
tioned  ;  as  a  sacrifice  it  is  not  only  a  source  of  merit,  but  also 
of  satisfaction.     As,  in  his  passion,  our  Lord  merited  and  satis 
fied  for  us,  so  in  the  oblation  of  this  sacrifice,  which  is  a  bond 
of  Christian  unity,  Christians  merit  the  fruit  of  his  passion, 
and  satisfy  for  sin. 

This  sacri-  With  regard  to  the  institution  of  this  sacrifice,  the  Council  of 
and  by  '^reni  has  obviated  all  doubt  on  the  subject,  by  declaring  that 
whom  in-  it  was  instituted  by  our  Lord  at  his  last  supper,  whilst  it  de 
stituted,  nounces  anathema  against  all  who  assert  that  in  it  is  not  offered 
to  God  a  true  and  proper  sacrifice ;  or  that  to  offer  means  no 
thing  more  than  that  Christ  gives  himself  to  be  our  spiritual 
Sacrifice  food.1  That  sacrifice  is  due  to  God  alone,  the  holy  Council 
alone?  also  states  in  the  clearest  terms.3  The  solemn  sacrifice  of  the 
Mass  is,  it  is  true,  sometimes  offered  to  honour  the  memory  of 
the  Saints ;  but  it  is  never  offered  to  them,  but  to  Him  alone 
who  has  crowned  them  with  unfading  glory.  Never  does  the 
officiating  minister  say :  "  I  offer  sacrifice  to  thee,  Peter,  or  to 
thee,  Paul ;"  but  whilst  he  offers  sacrifice  to  God  alone,  he  ren 
ders  him  thanks  for  the  signal  victories  won  by  the  nuirtyib,  and 
implores  their  patronage,  "  that  they  whose  memory  we  cele 
brate  on  earth,  may  vouchsafe  to  intercede  for  us  in  heaven."3 
The  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church  with  regard  to  this  sacri 
fice,  she  received  from  our  Lord,  when  at  his  last  supper,  com 
mitting  to  his  Apostles  the  sacred  mysteries,  he  said :  "  This 
do,  for  a  commemoration  of  me."4  He  then,  as  the  holy  Sy 
nod  has  defined,  ordained  them  priests,  and  commanded  them 
and  their  successors  in  the  ministry,  to  immolate  and  offer  in 
sacrifice  his  precious  body  and  blood.5  Of  this  the  words  of 
the  Apostle  to  the  Corinthians  also  afford  sufficient  evidence : 
"You  cannot,"  says  he,  "drink  the  chalice  of  the  Lord, 
and  the  chalice  of  devils  :  you  cannot  be  partakers  of  the  table 
of  the  Lord,  and  of  the  table  of  devils."0  As  then,  by  the  "  table 
of  devils,"  we  understand  the  altar  upon  which  sacrifice  was 
offered  to  them;  so  by  "the  table  of  the  Lord,"  to  bring  the 
words  of  the  Apostle  to  an  apposite  conclusion,  should  be  un 
derstood  the  altar  on  which  sacrifice  was  offered  to  the  Lord. 
Figures  Should  we  look  for  figures  and  prophecies  of  this  sacrifice 

ahecieTof  *n  ^  ^lc*  r^estament'  vvc  mitl>  in  the  first  place,  that  its  insti- 
?his  s'acri-  tution  was  clearly  foretold  by  Malachy  in  these  words :  "  From 
fi"e.  the  rising  of  the  sun,  even  to  the  going  down  thereof,  my  name 

1  Vid..Trid.  de  Sacrif  Missse  c.  1.  3.   Dionys.  lib.  17,  de  Eccles.  c.  3.  T^nat.  epist 
ad  Smyrn.  Tort  lib.  de  Orat  Iren.  lib.  4.  c.  32.  Aug.  lib.  10.  de  Civit.  D;-";,  e.  10.  et 
lib.  17.  c.  20.  et  i;  b.  18.  c.  35.  et  lib.  10.  c.  13.  et  lib.  22.  c.  8.  et  alibi  pnssim.    Vide 
etiam.  Sess.  22.  :  e  sacrifin.  Missas,  c.  1.  et  can.  1  anil  2. 

2  Trid.  Synod,  sess.  21.  c.  3.  3  Aucr.  contra  Faust,  lib.  20.  c.  21. 

4  Luke  xxii.  19.     1  Cor.  xi.  24.        5  Cone.  Trid.  sess.  22.  c.  1.        t,  I  Cor.  x.  21. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist.  175 

is  great  among  the  Gentiles,  and  in  every  place  there  is  sacri 
fice,  and  there  is  offered  to  my  name  a  clean  oblation  :  for  my 
name  is  great  among  the  Gentiles,  saith  the  Lord  of  hosts."1 
This  saving  victim  was  also  foretold,  as  well  before  as  after  the 
promulgation  of  the  Mosaic  law,  by  a  variety  of  sacrifices ;  for 
this  alone,  as  the  perfection  and  completion  of  all,  comprises  all 
the  advantages  which  were  typified  by  the  other  sacrifices.  In 
none  of  the  sacrifices  of  the  old  law,  however,  do  we  discover 
a  more  lively  image  of  the  Eucharistic  sacrifice  than  in  that  of 
Melchisedech.3  Our  Lord  himself,  at  his  last  Supper,  offered 
to  his  Eternal  father  his  precious  body  and  blood  under  the 
appearances  of  bread  and  wine,  at  the  same  time  declaring 
himself,  "  a  priest  for  ever  according  to  the  order  of  Melchise 

We,  therefore,  confess  that  the  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  one  The  sacn- 
and  the  same  sacrifice  with  that  of  the  cross  :  the  victim  is  one  j^e  of  ^he 
and  the  same,  Christ  Jesus,  who  offered  himself,  once  only,  a  same  with 
bloody  sacrifice  on  the  altar  of  the  cross.     The  bloody  and  un-  that  of  the 
bloody  victim  is  still  one  and  the  same,  and  the  oblation  of  the  cross' 
cross  is  daily  renewed  in  the  eucharistic  sacrifice,  in  obedience  to 
the  command  of  our  Lord  :     "  This  do,  for  a  commemoration 
of  me."4     The  priest  is  also  the  same,  Christ  our  Lord:  the 
ministers  who  offer  this  sacrifice,  consecrate  the  holy  mysteries 
not  in  their  own  but  in  the  person  of  Christ.    This  the  words  of 
consecration  declare  :  the  priest  does  not  say :  "  This  is  the  body 
of  Christ,"  but,  "  This  is  my  body  ;"   and  thus  invested  with  the 
character  of  Christ,  he  changes  the  substance  of  the  bread  and  wine 
into  the  substance  of  his  real  body  and  blood.3     That  the  holy 
sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  therefore,  is  not  only  a  sacrifice  of  praise  The  Mass, 
and  thanksgiving,  or  a  commemoration  of  the  sacrifice  of  the  a  sacrifice 
cross  ;  but  also  a  sacrifice  of  propitiation,  by  which  God  is  ap-  thanks- 
peased  and  rendered  propitious,  the  pastor  will  teach  as  a  dogma  g'vir)g'  an(1 
defined  by  the  unerring  authority  of  a  general  Council  of°the  fton1"1"1" 
Church.6    If,  therefore,  with  pure  hearts  and  a  lively  faith,  and 
with  a  sincere  sorrow  for  past  transgressions,  we  immolate  and 
offer  in  sacrifice  this  most  holy  victim,  we  shall,  no  doubt,  re 
ceive  from  the  Lord  "  mercy  and  grace  in  seasonable  aid."7    So 
acceptable  to  God  is  the  sweet  odour  of  this  sacrifice,  that  through 
its  oblation  he  pardons  our  sins,  bestowing  on  us  the  gifts  of 
grace  and  of  repentance.  This  is  the  solemn  prayer  of  the  Church  : 
as  often  as  the  commemoration  of  this  victim  is  celebrated,  so 
often  is  the  work  of  our  salvation  promoted,  and  the  plenteous 
fruits  cf  that  bloody  victim  flow  in  upon  us  abundantly,  through 
this  unbloody  sacrifice. 

The  pastor  will  also  teach,  that  such  is  the  effic-cy  of  this  Available 
acrifice,  that  its  benefits  extend  not  only  to  the  celebrant  and  to  the  liv- 

'  Malach.  i.  11.  2  Gen.  xiv.  18.  3  Heb.  vii.  17.    J's.  cue.  4. 

«  Luke  xxii.  19.     1  Cor.  xi.  24. 

5  Chrys.  horn.  2.  in  2.  ad  Timoth.  et  horn,  de  prod.  Judse.  Ambr.  lib.  4.  de  Sa- 
cram.  c.  4.  6  Trident,  sess.  22.  de  sacrif  Missee,  c.  2.  et  can.  3. 

7  llebr.  iv.  16. 

176  TJie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

ing  and  the  communicant,  but  also  to  all  the  faithful  whether  living  or  num- 
dead  :         bered  amongst  those  who  have  died  in  the  Lord,  but  whose  sins 
have  not  yet  been  fully  expiated.     According  to  apostolic  tra 
dition  the  most  authentic,  it  is  not  less  available  when  offered 
for  them  than  when  offered  in  atonement  for  the  sins,  in  alle 
viation  of  the  punishments,  the  satisfactions,  the  calamities,  or 
Common  to  for  the  relief  of  the  necessities,  of  the  living.1     It  is  hence  easy 
J!1!  *e        to  perceive,  that  the  mass,  whenever  and  wherever  offered,  be 
cause  conducive  to  the  common  interest*  and  salvation  of  all,  is 
to  be  considered  common  to  all  the  faithful. 

Its  rites  and  This  great  sacrifice  is  celebrated  with  many  solemn  rites  and 
ceremo-  ceremonies  :  of  these  rites  and  ceremonies  let  none  be  deemed 
useless  or  superfluous  :  all  oh  the  contrary  tend  to  display  the 
majesty  of  this  august  sacrifice,  and  to  excite  the  faithful,  by  the 
celebration  of  these  saving  mysteries,  to  the  contemplation  of 
the  divine  things  which  lie  concealed  in  the  eucharistic  sacrifice. 
On  these  rites  and  ceremonies  we  shall  not  enter  at  large :  they 
require  a  more  lengthened  exposition  than  is  compatible  with 
the  nature  of  the  present  work  ;  and  the  pastor  has  it  in  his 
power  to  consult  on  the  subject,  a  variety  of  treatises  composed 
by  men  eminent  alike  for  piety  and  learning.  What  has  been 
said  will,  with  the  divine  assistance,  be  found  sufficient  to  ex 
plain  the  principal  things  which  regard  the  Holy  Eucharist  both 
as  a  sacrament  and  sacrifice. 


Necessity  As  the  frailty  and  weakness  of  human  nature  are  universally 
ofthesa-  known  and  felt,  no  one  can  be  ignorant  of  the  paramount  ne- 
Penance°f  cessity  of  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  If,  therefore,  in  the  ex 
position  of  the  different  matters  of  instruction,  we  are  to  mea 
sure  the  assiduity  of  the  pastor  by  the  weight  and  importance 
of  the  subject,  we  must  come  to  the  conclusion  that,  in  ex 
pounding  this  Sacrament,  he  can  never  be  sufficiently  assiduous. 
Its  exposition  demands  an  accuracy  superior  to  that  of  baptism. 
Baptism  is  administered  but  once,  and  cannot  be  repeated; 
penance  may  be  administered  and  becomes  necessary,  as  often 
as  we  may  have  sinned  after  baptism,  according  to  the  defini 
tion  of  the  Fathers  of  Trent.  "  For  those  who  fall  into  sin 
after  baptism,"  say  they,  "  the  sacrament  of  penance  is  as  ne 
cessary  to  salvation,  as  is  baptism  for  those  who  have  not 
been  already  baptized."3  On  this  subject  the  words  of  St.  Je 
rome,  which  say,  that  penance  is  "  a  second  plank,"8  are  uni 
versally  known,  and  highly  commended  by  all  who  have  written 

»  Trid.  Synod,  sess.  22.  cap.  206, 

2  Sess.  6.  de  Just.  rap.  14.  et  Sess.  14.  de  poenit.  cap.  3.  in  3  cap. 

'  Hieron.  ad  haec  verba,  Ruit  Hierusalem,  et  epistola  8. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  177 

on  this  Sacrament.  As  he  who  suffers  shipwreck  has  no  hope 
of  safety,  unless,  perchance,  he  seize  on  some  plank  from  the 
wreck;  so  he  that  suffers  the  shipwreck  of  baptismal  innocence, 
unless  he  cling  to  the  saving  plank  of  penance,  may  abandon 
all  hope  of  salvation.  These  instructions,  however,  are  intended 
not  only  for  the  benefit  of  the  pastor,  but  also  for  that  of  the 
faithful  at  large,  whose  attention  they  may  awaken,  lest  they 
be  found  culpably  negligent  in  a  matter  of  all  others  the  most 
important.  Impressed  with  a  just  sense  of  the  frailty  of  human 
nature,  their  first  and  most  earnest  desire  should  be,  to  advance, 
with  the  divine  assistance,  in  the  ways  of  God,  flying  sin  of 
every  sort.  But  should  they,  at  any  time,  prove  so  unfortunate 
as  to  fall,  then,  looking  at  the  infinite  goodness  of  God,  who 
like  the  good  shepherd  binds  up  and  heals  the  wounds  of  his 
sheep,  they  should  have  immediate  recourse  to  the  sacrament 
of  penance,  that  by  its  salutary  and  medicinal  efficacy  their 
wounds  may  be  healed.1 

But  to  enter  more  immediately  on  the  subject,  and  to  avoid  Different 
all  error  to  which  the  ambiguity  of  the  word  may  give  rise,  its 
different  meanings  are  first  to  be  explained.     By  penance  some  penance, 
understand  satisfaction ;  whilst  others,  who  wander  far  from  the 
doctrine  of  the  Catholic  faith,  supposing  penance  to  have  no 
reference  to  the  past,  define  it  to  be  nothing  more  than  newness 
of  life.     The  pastor,  therefore,  will  teach  that  the  word  (poani- 
tentia)  has  a  variety  of  meanings.     In  the  first  place,  it  is  used         1 
to  express  a  change  of  mind ;  as  when,  without  taking  into  ac 
count  the  nature  of  the  object,  whether  good  or  bad,  what  was 
before  pleasing,  is  now  become  displeasing  to  us.    In  this  sense 
the  Apostle  makes  use  of  the  word,  when  he  applies  it  to  those, 
"  whose  sorrow  is  according  to   the  world,  not   according  to 
God ;   and  therefore,  worketh  not  salvation,  but  death."2     In        li 
the  second  place,  it  is  used  to  express  that  sorrow  which  the 
sinner  conceives  for  sin,  not  however  for  sake  of  God,   but 
for  his  own  sake.     A  third  meaning  is  when  we  experience        in. 
interior  sorrow  of  heart,  or  give  ,exterior  indication  of  such  sor 
row,  not  only  on  account  of  the  sins  which  we  have  committed, 
but  also  for  sake  of  God  alone  whom  they  offend.     To   all 
these  sorts  of  sorrow  the  word  (poenitentia)  properly  applies. 

When  the  Sacred  Scriptures  say  that  God  repented,3  the  ex-  In  what 
pression  is  evidently  figurative  :  when  we  repent  of  any  thing,  ?ens?  G 
we  are  anxious  to  change  it ;  and  thus,  when  God  is  said  to  repent  ° 

1  Ezech.  xxxiv.  16.   De  Poenitentia  e  patribus  antiquis  scripserunt  Tertul.  librura 
unum.  Cypr.  epistolas  plures  et  unum  lib.  de  Lapsis,  Pacianus  lib-  unum  et  duas 
epistolas  ad  Symproniam,  ac  de  poenit.  et  confession,  seu  paran.  ad  pocnit.  Ambros. 
libros  duos  poenit.  Chrysost.  Homilias  10.  et  sermon,  de  poenit.  Ephrem.  lib.  et  ser 
mon,  de  poenit.     Fulgentius  lib.  2.  de  remission,  peccatorum  ad  Euthymiurn,  et 
sess.  14.  de  poenit.  cap.  3.  Greg.   Nyssenus  orationem  de  poenit.  Basil,  homil.  imam 
quse  est  postrema  variarum,  Augustin.  denique  lib.  unum  de  vera  et  falsa  poeni 
tentia,  et  librum  insignem  de  poenitentise  medicina.    His  adde  Marcum  Eremitam 
cujus  extat  de  poenitent.  liber  unus,  sed  caute  legendus :  de  eo  vide  Bellarmin.  de 
Script  Eccles.  Qui  non  habet  Patres  supra  citatos,  videat  in  Decreta  Gratiani  de 
poenitent.  7.  distinctiones. 

2  2  Cor,  vii.  10.  3  Gen.  vi.6.    1  Kings  xv.  11.    Ps.  cv.  45.    Jer.  xxvi.  3. 


)78  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

change  any  thing,  the  Scriptures,  accommodating  their  language 
to  our  ideas,  say  that  he  repents.  Thus  we  read  that  "  it  re 
pented  him  that  he  had  made  man,"1  and  also  that  it  repented 
him  to  have  made  Saul  king.3 

Meaningof      But  an  important  distinction  is  to  be  made  between  these  dif- 

penance      ferent  significations  of  the  word:  to  repent,  in  its  first  meaning, 

argues  imperfection — in  its  second,  the  agitation  of  a  disturbed 

mind — in  the  third,  penance  is  a  virtue  and  a  sacrament,  the 

sense  in  which  it  is  here  used. 

Peiv^ceas  We  shall  first  treat  of  penance  as  a  virtue,  not  only  because 
'"  *ie-  it  is  the  bounden  duty  of  the  pastor  to  form  the  faithful,  with 
whose  instruction  he  is  charged,  to  the  practice  of  every  virtue ; 
but  also,  because  the  acts  which  proceed  from  penance  as  a  vir 
tue,  constitute  the  matter,  as  it  were,  of  penance  as  a  sacrament; 
and  if  ignorant  of  it  in  this  latter  sense,  impossible  not  to  be 
ignorant  also  of  its  efficacy  as  a  sacrament.  The  faithful,  there 
fore,  are  first  to  be  admonished  and  exhorted  to  labour  strenu 
ously  to  attain  this  interior  penance  of  the  heart,  which  we  call 
a  virtue,  and  without  which  exterior  penance  can  avail  them 
very  little.3  This  virtue  consists  in  turning  to  God  sincerely 
and  from  the  heart,  and  in  hating  and  detesting  our  past  trans 
gressions,  with  a  firm  resolution  of  amendment  of  life,  hoping 
to  obtain  pardon  through  the  mercy  of  God.  It  is  accompanied 
with  a  sincere  sorrow,  which  is  an  agitation  and  affection  of  the 
mind,  and  is  called  by  many  a  passion,  and  if  accompanied  with 
Supposes  detestation,  is,  as  it  were,  the  companion  of  sin.  It  must,  how 
ever,  be  preceded  by  faith,  for  without  faith  no  man  can  turn  to 
God.  Faith,  therefore,  cannot  on  any  account  be  called  a  part 
Proved  to  of  penance.4  That  this  inward  affection  of  the  soul  is,  as  we 
ne  a  virtue,  have  already  said,  a  virtue,  the  various  precepts  which  enforce 
its  necessity  prove ;  for  precepts  regp.rd  those  actions  only,  the 
H-  performance  of  which  implies  virtue.  Besides,  to  experience 
a  sense  of  sorrow  at  the  time,  in  the  manner,  and  to  the  extent 
which  are  consonant  to  reason  and  religion,  is  no  doubt  an  ex 
ercise  of  virtue :  and  this  sorrow  is  regulated  by  the  virtue  of 
penance.  Some  conceive  a  sorrow  which  bears  no  proportion 
to  the  enormity  of  their  crimes  :  "  There  are  some,"  says  So 
lomon,  "  who  are  glad  when  they  have  done  evil  ;"5  whilst 
others,  on  the  contrary,  consign  themselves  to  such  morbid 
melancholy  and  to  such  a  deluge  of  grief,  as  utterly  to  abandon 
all  hope  of  salvation.  Such  perhaps  was  the  condition  of  Cain 
when  he  exclaimed :  "  My  iniquity  is  greater  than  that  I  may 
deserve  pardon  :"6  such  certainly  was  the  condition  of  Judas, 
who,  "  repenting,"  hanged  himself  in  despair,  and  thus  sacri 
ficed  soul  and  body.7  Penance,  therefore,  considered  as  a 

i  Gen.  vL  6.  2  1  Kings  xv.  11. 

3  Vide  Amb.  in  sermone  de  pcen.  et  citatur.  de  poenit.  dist.  3.  cap.  poenitentm. 
Aug.  lib.  de  vera  et  felsa  poen.  c.  8.  et  habetur  de  pcen.  3.  c.  4.  Greg.  horn.  34.  in 
Kvang.  et  lib.  9.  Kegist.  Epist.  39. 

4  Trid.  Sess.  14.  de  poen.  c.  3,  can.  4. 

15  Prov.  ii.  H.  6  Gen.  iv.  13.  7  Matt.  Txvii.  3. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  17U 

virtue,  assists  us  in  restraining  within  the  bounds  of  moderation 
our  sense  of  sorrow. 

That  penance  is  a  virtue  may  also  be  inferred  from  the  ends  IH. 
which  the  penitent  proposes  to  himself.  The  first  is  to  destroy 
sin  and  efface  from  the  soul  its  every  spot  and  stain ;  the  se 
cond,  to  make  satisfaction  to  God  for  the  sins  which  he  has 
committed,  and  this  is  an  act  of  justice  towards  God.  Be 
tween  God  and  man,  it  is  true,  no  relation  of  strict  justice 
can  exist,  so  great  is  the  distance  between  the  Creator  and 
the  creature  ;  yet  between  both  there  is  evidently  a  sort  of 
justice,  such  as  exists  between  a  father  and  his  children,  be 
tween  a  master  and  his  servants.  The  third  end  is,  to  rein 
state  himself  in  the  favour  and  friendship  of  God  whom  he  has 
offended,  and  whose  hatred  he  has  earned  by  the  turpitude  of 
sin.  That  penance  is  a  virtue,  these  three  ends  which  the 
penitent  proposes  to  himself,  sufficiently  prove. 

We  must  also  point  out  the  steps,  by  which  we  may  ascend  The  de- 
to  this  divine  virtue.     The  mercy  of  God  first  prevents  us  and  grf?8hby 
converts  our  hearts  to  him  ;    this  was  the  object  of  the  pro-  altaTn  this 
phet's  prayer :     "  Convert  us,  O  Lord  !    and  we  shall  be  con-  virtue. 
verted."1 — Illumined  by  this  celestial  light  the  soul  next  tends 
to  God  by  faith  :    "  He  that  cometh  to  God,"  says  the  Apostle,         II. 
'  must  believe  that  he  is,  and  is  a  rewarder  to  them  that  seek 
iiim."3  A  salutary  fear  of  God's  judgments  follows,  and  the  soul,        IH 
fontemplating  the  punishments  that  await  sin,  is  recalled  from 
die  paths  of  vice:     "As  a  woman  with  child,"  says  Isaias, 
'  when  she  draweth  near  the  time  of  her  delivery,  is  in  pain 
•md  crieth  out  in  her  pangs  ;  so  are  we  become  in  thy  presence, 
0  Lord  !"3 — We  are  also  animated  with  a  hope  of  obtaining        IV 
mercy  from  God,  and  cheered   by  this  hope  we  resolve  on  a 
ehange  of  life. — Lastly,  our  hearts  are  inflamed  by  charity  ;  and        V. 
«ence  we  conceive  that  filial  fear  which  a  dutiful  and  ingenuous 
•-hild  experiences  towards  a  parent.     Thus,  dreading  only  to 
dtfend  the  majesty  of  God  in  any  thing,  we  entirely  abandon  the 
ways  of  sin.     These  are,  as  it  were,  the  steps  by  which  we 
tscend  to  this  most  exalted  virtue,  a  virtue  altogether  heavenly  Heaven 
uid  divine,  to  which  the  Sacred  Scriptures  promise  the  inheri-  the  rewanl 
once  of  heaven  :     "  Do  penance,"  says  the  Redeemer,  "  for  the  °f  penance' 
Kingdom  of  heaven  is  at  hand  :"*    "  If,"  says  the  prophet  Eze- 
kiel,  "  the  wicked  do  penance  for  all  his  sins  which  he  hath 
committed,  and  keep  all  my  commandments,  and  do  judgment 
and  justice,  living  he  shall  live,  and  shall  not  die  :"5     "  I  desire 
not,  saith  the  Lord,  the  death  of  the  wicked,  but  that  the  wicked 
turn  from  his  way  and  live  ;"6  words  which  are  evidently  un 
derstood  of  eternal  life. 

With  regard  to  external  penance,  the  pastor  will  teach  that  it  Penance  as 
is  that  which  constitutes  the  sacrament  of  penance  :    it  consists  a  sacra- 
of  certain  sensible  things  significant  of  that  which  passes  inte-  crament 

1  Jerem.  xxxi.  18.  2  Heb.  xi.  6.  3  rsa.  xxvj  ]7 

<  Matt  iv.  17.  s  Ezek.  xviii.  21.  B  £zek.  xx'xiii.  11. 

180  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

\Vhy  insti-  riorly  in  the  soul ;  and  the  faithful  are  to  be  informed,  in  the 
first  place,  why  the  Redeemer  was  pleased  to  give  it  a  place 
among  the  Sacraments.  His  object  was,  no  doubt,  to  remove, 
in  a  great  measure,  all  uncertainty  as  to  the  pardon  of  sin  pro 
mised  by  our  Lord  when  he  said  :  "  If  the  wicked  do  penance 
for  all  his  sins,  which  he  hath  committed,  and  keep  all  my  com 
mandments,  and  do  judgment  and  justice,  living  he  shall  live, 
and  shall  not  die."1  Pronouncing  upon  his  own  actions,  every 
man  has  reason  to  question  the  accuracy  of  his  own  judgment, 
and  hence,  on  the  sincerity  of  interior  penance  the  mind  must 
be  held  in  anxious  suspense.  To  calm  this  our  solicitude,  the 
Redeemer  instituted  the  sacrament  of  penance,  in  which  we 
cherish  a  well  founded  hope,  that  our  sins  are  forgiven  us  by 
the  absolution  of  the  priest,  and  the  faith  which  we  justly  have 
in  the  efficacy  of  the  Sacraments,  has  much  influence  in  tran 
quillizing  the  troubled  conscience  and  giving  peace  to  the  soul. 
The  voice  of  the  priest,  who  is  legitimately  constituted  a  minis 
ter  for  the  remission  of  sins,  is  to  be  heard  as  that  of  Christ 
himself,  who  said  to  the  lame  man  :  "  Son,  be  of  good  cheer, 
thy  sins  are  forgiven  thee."2 

jl.  Moreover,  as  salvation  is  unattainable  but  through  Christ  and 

the  merits  of  his  passion,  the  institution  of  this  sacrament  was 
in  itself  accordant  to  the  views  of  divine  wisdom,  and  pregnant 
with  blessings  to  the  Christian.  Penance  is  the  channel  through 
which  the  blood  of  Christ  flows  into  the  soul,  washes  away 
the  stains  contracted  after  baptism,  and  calls  forth  from  us  the 
grateful  acknowledgment,  that  to  the  Saviour  alone  we  are  in 
debted  for  the  blessing  of  a  reconciliation  with  God. 
I'enance  That  penance  is  a  sacrament  the  pastor  will  not  find  it  diffi- 
proved  to  cujt  to  establish  :  baptism  is  a  sacrament  because  it  washes 
iuent.Sa<  *  away  all,  particularly  original  sin :  penance  also  washes  away 
all  sins  of  thought  or  deed  committed  after  baptism ;  on  the 
same  principle,  therefore,  penance  is  a  sacrament.  Again,  and 
the  argument  is  conclusive,  a  sacrament  is  the  sign  of  a  sacred 
thing,  and  what  is  done  externally,  by  the  priest  and  penitent, 
is  a  sign  of  what  takes  place,  internally,  in  the  soul :  the  peni 
tent  unequivocally  expresses,  by  words  and  actions,  that  he  has 
turned  away  from  sin  :  the  priest,  too,  by  words  and  actions, 
gives  us  easily  to  understand,  that  the  mercy  of  God  is  exer 
cised  in  the  remission  of  sin  :  this  is,  also,  clearly  evinced  by 
these  words  of  the  Saviour  :  "  I  will  give  to  thee  the  keys  of 
the  kingdom  of  heaven,  whatever  sins  you  loose  on  earth,  shall 
be  loosed,  also,  in  heaven."3  The  absolution  of  the  priest, 
which  is  expressed  in  words,  seals,  therefore,  the  remission  of 
sins,  which  it  accomplishes  in  the  soul,  and  thus  is  penance  in 
vested  with  all  the  necessary  conditions  of  a  sacrament,  and  is, 
therefore,  truly  a  sacrament. 

That  penance  is  not  only  to  be  numbered  amongst  the  sacra- 

1  Ezek.  xviii.  21. 

2  Matt.  ix.2.  Vid.  Cone.  Trid.  sess.  xiv.  c.  1.  in  noc.  1.  Epist.  91  inter  epist  Aug. 
»  Matt.  xvi.  ID. 

On  the  Sacran>.snt  of  Penance.  181 

ments,  but  amongst  the  sacraments  that  may  be  repeated,  The  sacra- 
the  faithful  are  next  to  be  taught.     To  Peter,  asking  if  sin  may  jj^e0,,]^ 
be  forgiven  seven  times,  our  Lord  replies :     "  I  say,  not  seven  be  repeat- 
times,  but  seventy  times  seven."1    Whenever,  therefore,  the  mi-  ed- 
nistry  of  the  priest  is  to  be  exercised  towards  those  who  seem 
to  dilfide  in  the  infinite  goodness  and  mercy  of  God,  the  zealous 
pastor  will  seek  to  inspire  them  with  confidence,  and  to  reani 
mate  their  hopes  of  obtaining  the  grace  of  God.     This  he  will 
find  it  easy  to  accomplish  by  expounding  the  preceding  words 
of  our  Lord,  by  adducing  other  texts  of  the  same  import,  which 
are  to  be  found   numerously  scattered   throughout   the  Sacred 
Volume ;  and  by  adopting  those  reasons  and  arguments  which 
are  supplied  by  St.  Chrysostome  in  his  book  "  on  the  fallen," 
and  by  St.  Ambrose  in  his  treatise  on  penance.2 

As,  then,  amongst  the  sacraments  there  is  none  on  which  the  Its  matter, 
faithful  should  be  better  informed,  they  are  to  be  taught,  that  it 
differs  from  the  other  sacraments  in  this  :  the  matter  of  the  other 
sacraments  is  some  production  of  nature  or  art ;  but  the  acts  of 
the  penitent,  contrition,  confession,  and  satisfaction,  constitute, 
as  has  been  defined  by  the  Council  of  Trent,  the  matter  as  it 
were  (quasi  materia)  of  the  sacrament  of  penance.3  They  are 
called  parts  of  penance.,  because  required  in  the  penitent,  by  di 
vine  institution  for  the  integrity  of  the  Sacrament  and  the  full 
and  entire  remission  of  sin.  When  the  holy  synod  says,  that 
they  are  "  the  matter  as  it  were,"  it  is  not  because  they  are  not 
the  real  matter,  but  because  they  are  not,  like  water  in  baptism 
and  chrism  in  confirmation,  matter  that  may  be  applied  exter 
nally.  With  regard  to  the  opinion  of  some,  who  hold  that  the  Sins  in 
sins  themselves  constitute  the  matter  of  this  sacrament,  if  well  what  sense 
weighed,  it  will  not  be  found  to  differ  from  what  has  been  al 
ready  laid  down :  we  say  that  wood  which  is  consumed  by  fire, 
is  the  matter  of  fire  ;  and  sins  which  are  destroyed  by  penance, 
may  also  be  called,  with  propriety,  the  matter  of  penance. 

The  form,  also,  because  well  calculated  to  excite  the  faithful,  ts  'brm. 
to  receive  with  fervent  devotion  the  grace  of  this  sacrament,  the 
pastor  will  not  omit  to  explain.  The  words  that  compose  the 
form  are :  "  I  ABSOLVE  THEE,"  as  may  be  inferred  not  only 
from  these  words  of  the  Redeemer  :  "  Whatsoever  you  shall 
bind  upon  earth,  shall  be  bound  also  in  heaven  ;"4  but  also  from 
the  same  doctrine  of  Jesus  Christ,  as  recorded  by  the  Apostles. 
That  this  is  the  perfect  form  of  the  sacrament  of  penance,  the 
very  nature  of  the  form  of  a  sacrament  proves.  The  form  of  a 
sacrament  signifies  what  the  sacrament  accomplishes:  these  words 
"I  absolve  thee"  signify  the  accomplishment  of  absolution  from 
sin  through  the  instrumentality  of  this  sacrament ;  they  there 
fore  constitute  its  form.  Sins  are,  as  it  were,  the  chains  by 

1  Matt,  xviii.  22. 

2  Chrys.  1.  5.  lib.  de  laps,  repar.  et  habetur  de  poenit.  dist.  3.  c.  talis.  Amb.  de 
pcenit.  lib.  1.  c,  1.  et  2.  vid.  et  Aug.  lib.  de  vera  et  falsa  poenit.  c.  5.  citatur  de  poe 
nit.  dist  c.  3.  adhuc  instant. 

3  Sess.  24.  de  poenit.  c.  3.  et  can  4  4  Matt,  xviii.  18. 



Why  ac 
with  pray 


The  rites 
to  be  ob 
served  in 
this  sacra 

Its  advan 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

which  the  soul  is  fettered,  and  from  the  bondage  of  which  it  is 
"  loosed"  by  the  sacrament  of  penance.  This  form  is  not  less 
true,  when  pronounced  by  the  priest  over  him,  who  by  means 
of  perfect  contrition,  has  already  obtained  the  pardon  of  his  sins. 
Perfect  contrition,  it  is  true,  reconciles  the  sinner  to  God,  but 
his  justification  is  not  to  be  ascribed  to  perfect  contrition  alone, 
independently  of  the  desire  which  it  includes  of  receiving  the 
sacrament  of  penance.  Many  prayers  accompany  the  form, 
not  because  they  are  deemed  necessary,  but  in  order  to  remove 
every  obstacle,  which  the  unvvorthiness  of  the  penitent  may  op 
pose  to  the  efficacy  of  the  sacrament.  Let  then  the  sinner  pour 
out  his  heart  in  fervent  thanks  to  God,  who  has  invested  the 
ministers  of  his  Church  with  such  ample  powers !  Unlike  the 
authority  given  to  the  priests  of  the  Old  Law,  to  declare  the 
leper  cleansed  from  his  leprosy,1  the  power  with  which  the 
priests  of  the  New  Law  are  invested,  is  not  simply  to  declare 
that  sins  are  forgiven,  but,  as  the  ministers  of  God,  really  to 
absolve  from  sin ;  a  power  which  God  himself,  the  author  and 
source  of  grace  and  justification,  exercises  through  their  mi 

The  rites  used  in  the  administration  of  this  sacrament,  also 
demand  the  serious  attention  of  the  faithful.  They  will  enable 
them  to  form  a  more  just  estimate  of  the  blessings  which  it  be 
stows,  recollecting  that  as  servants,  they  are  reconciled  to  the 
best  of  masters,  or  rather,  as  children,  to  the  tenderest  of  fa 
thers.  They  will,  also,  serve  to  place  in  a  clearer  point  of 
view,  the  duty  of  those  who  desire,  and  desire  every  one  should, 
to  evince  their  grateful  recollection  of  so  inestimable  a  favour. 
Humbled  in  spirit,  the  sincere  penitent  casts  himself  down  at 
the  feet  of  the  priest,  to  testify,  by  this  his  humble  demeanour, 
that  he  acknowledges  the  necessity  of  eradicating  pride,  the 
root  of  all  those  enormities  which  he  now  deplores.  In  the 
minister  of  God,  who  sits  in  the  tribunal  of  penance  as  his 
legitimate  judge,  he  venerates  the  power  and  person  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ ;  for  in  the  administration  of  this,  as  in  that  of  the 
other  sacraments,  the  priest  represents  the  character  and  dis 
charges  the  functions  of  Jesus  Christ.  Acknowledging  him 
self  deserving  of  the  severest  chastisements,  and  imploring  the 
pardon  of  his  guilt,  the  penitent  next  proceeds  to  the  confession 
of  his  sins.  To  the  antiquity  of  all  these  rites  St.  Denis  bears 
the  most  authentic  testimony.2 

To  the  faithful,  however,  nothing  will  be  found  more  advan 
tageous,  nothing  better  calculated  to  animate  them  to  frequent 
the  sacrament  of  penance  with  alacrity,  than  the  frequent  expo 
sition  of  the  inestimable  advantages  which  it  confers.  They 
will  then  see,  that  of  penance  it  may  be  truly  said :  that  "  its 
root  is  bitter,  but  its  fruit  sweet."  The  great  efficacy  of  penance 
is,  therefore,  that  it  restores  us  to  the  favour  of  God,  and  unites 

1  Levit.  xiii.  9.  et  xiv.  2. 

2  In  epist  ad  Demoph.  Vid.  et  Tertul.  lib.  de  poenit  c.  9. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  183 

us  to  him  in  the  closest  bonds  of  friendship.1  From  this  recon-  H- 
ciliation  with  God,  the  devout  soul,  who  approaches  the  sacra 
ment  with  deep  sentiments  of  piety  and  religion,  sometimes  ex 
periences  the  greatest  tranquillity  and  peace  of  conscience,  a 
tranquillity  and  peace  accompanied  with  the  sweetest  spiritual  III. 
joy.  There  is  no  sin,  however  grievous,  no  crime  however  IV 
enormous  or  however  frequently  repeated,  which  penance  does 
not  remit :  "  If,"  says  the  Almighty,  by  the  mouth  of  his  pro 
phet,  "  the  wicked  do  penance  for  all  his  sins,  which  he  hath 
committed,  and  keep  all  my  commandments,  and  do  judgment 
and  justice,  living  he  shall  live  and  shall  not  die;  I  will  not  re 
member  all  his  iniquities  which  he  hath  done."3  "  If,"  says 
St.  John,  "  we  confess  our  sins,  he  is  faithful  and  just  to  forgive 
us  our  sins  ;"3  and  a  little  after  he  adds  :  "  If  any  man  sin,  we 
have  an  advocate  with  the  Father,  Jesus  Christ,  the  just ;  and 
he  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins ;  and  not  for  ours  only,  but 
also  for  those  of  the  whole  world."4  If,  therefore,  we  read  in  Note, 
the  pages  of  inspiration,  of  some  who  earnestly  implored  the 
mercy  of  God,  but  implored  it  in  vain,  it  is  because  theydid  not 
repent  sincerely  and  from  their  hearts.5  When  we  also  meet 
in  the  Sacred  Scriptures  and  in  the  writings  of  the  Fathers,  pas 
sages  which  seem  to  say,  that  some  sins  are  irremissible,  we 
are  to  understand  such  passages  to  mean,  that  it  is  very  difficult 
to  obtain  the  pardon  of  them.  A  disease  may  be  said  to  be 
incurable,  when  the  patient  loathes  the  medicine  that  would  ac 
complish  his  cure ;  and,  in  the  same  sense,  some  sins  may  be 
said  to  be  irremissible,  when  the  sinner  rejects  the  grace  of  God, 
the  proper  medicine  of  salvation.  To  this  effect  St.  Augustine 
says :  "  When,  after  having  arrived  at  a  knowledge  of  God, 
through  the  grace  of  Jesus  Christ,  any  one  opposes  the  fellow 
ship  of  the  faith,  and  maliciously  resists  the  grace  of  Jesus 
Christ,  so  great  is  the  enormity  of  his  crime,  that,  although  his 
guilty  conscience  obliges  him  to  acknowledge  and  declare  his 
guilt,  he  cannot  submit  to  the  humiliation  of  imploring  par 

To  return  to  penance,  to  it  belongs,  in  so  special  a  manner,  Penance 
the  efficacy  of  remitting  actual  guilt,  that  without  its  iaterven-  nece?sary 
tion  we  cannot  obtain  or  even  hope  for  pardon.     It  is  written  :  the  pardon 
"  Unless  you  do  penance,  you  shall  all  perish."7    These  words  of  sin. 
of  our  Lord  are  to  be  understood  of  grievous  and  deadly  sins, 
although,  as  St.  Augustine  observes,  venial   sins  also  require 
some  penance :  "  If,"  says  he,  "  without  penance,  venial  sin 
could  be  remitted,  the  daily  penance,  performed  for  them  by  the    • 
Church,  would  be  nugatory."8 

But  as,  on  matters  which,  in  any  degree,  affect  moral  actions,  The  three 
it  is  not  enough  to  convey  instruction  in  general  terms,  the  pas-  integral 

'  Cone.  Trid  sess.  14.  can.  3,  &c.  1.  de  pcenitent.  2  Ezek.  xviii.  21,  22. 

3  I  John  i.  9.  •*  1  John  ii.  1,2.  $2  Mach.  ix.  13. 

6  Lib.  1.  de  sermon.  Domini  in  monte,  c.  42.  et  44.  et  retract,  lib.  c.  8,  19.  Aug. 
term.  1.  de  verhis  Domini,  et  epist.  50.  ad  Bonif.  7  Luke  xiii.  3.  5. 

»  Aug.  lib.  50.  horn.  50.  item  epist.  168.  et  Ench.  cap.  71. 


parts  of 

Their  na 

Their  con 

Why  inte 
gral  parts. 

and  ex 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

tor  will  be  careful  to  expound,  severally,  all  those  particulars 
which  may  give  the  faithful  a  knowledge  of  that  penance,  which 
is  unto  salvation.  To  this  sacrament,  then,  it  is  peculiar  that, 
besides  .natter  and  form,  which  are  common  to  all  the  sacra 
ments,  it  has,  also,  as  we  said  before,  what  are  called  integral 
parts  of  penance,  and  these  integral  parts  are  contrition,  con 
fession,  and  satisfaction.  "  Penance,"  says  St.  Chrysostome, 
"  induces  the  sinner  cheerfully  to  undergo  every  rigour ;  his 
heart  is  pierced  with  contrition ;  his  lips  utter  the  confession  of 
his  guilt ;  and  his  actions  breathe  humility,  and  are  accepted  by 
God  as  a  satisfaction."1  These  component  parts  of  penance  are 
such  as  we  say  are  necessary  to  constitute  a  whole.  The  human 
form,  for  instance,  is  composed  of  many  members,  of  hands, 
of  feet,  of  eyes,  &c.  of  which,  if  any  are  wanting,  man  is 
justly  deemed  imperfect,  and  if  not,  perfect.  Analogous  to  this, 
penance  consists  of  the  three  parts  which  we  have  already  enu 
merated  ;  and  although,  as  far  as  regards  the  nature  of  penance, 
contrition  and  confession  are  sufficient  for  justification,  yet,  if 
unaccompanied  with  satisfaction,  something  is  still  wanting  to 
its  integrity.  So  connected  then  are  these  parts  one  with  the 
other,  that  contrition  and  a  disposition  to  satisfaction  precede 
confession,  and  contrition  and  confession  precede  satisfaction. 
Why  these  are  integral  parts  of  penance  may  be  thus  explained 
— We  sin  against  God  by  thought,  word,  and  deed :  when  re 
curring  to  the  power  of  the  keys,  we  should,  therefore,  endea 
vour  to  appease  his  wrath,  and  obtain  the  pardon  of  our  sins, 
by  the  very  same  means,  by  which  we  offended  his  supreme 
majesty.  In  further  explanation  we  may  also  add,  that  penance 
is,  as  it  were,  a  compensation  for  offences,  which  proceed  from 
the  free  will  of  the  person  offending,  and  is  appointed  by  the 
will  of  God,  to  whom  the  offence  has  been  offered.  On  the 
part  of  the  penitent,  therefore,  a  willingness  to  make  this  com 
pensation  is  required,  and  in  this  willingness  chiefly  consists 
contrition.  The  penitent  must  also  submit  himself  to  the  judg 
ment  of  the  priest,  who  is  the  vicegerent  of  God,  to  enable  him 
to  award  a  punishment  proportioned  to  his  guilt ;  and,  hence, 
are  clearly  understood  the  nature  and  necessity  of  confession 
and  satisfaction. 

But  as  the  faithful  require  instruction  on  the  nature  and  effi 
cacy  of  these  parts  of  penance,  we  shall  begin  with  contrition, 
a  subject  which  demands  to  be  explained  with  more  than  ordi 
nary  care ;  for  as  often  as  we  call  to  mind  our  past  transgres 
sions,  or  offend  God  anew,  so  often  should  our  hearts  be  pierced 
with  contrition.  By  the  Fathers  of  the  Council  of  Trent,  con 
trition  is  denned :  "  A  sorrow  and  detestation  of  past  sin,  with 
a  purpose  of  sinning  no  more."2  Speaking  of  the  motion  of 
the  will  to  contrition,  the  Council,  a  little  after,  adds:  "  if  joined 
with  a  confidence  in  the  mercy  of  God,  and  an  earnest  desire 

1  Horn.  11.  quae  est  de  pcenit.  Vid.  cone.  Trid.  14.  de  poenit,  cap.  3.  et  can.  4.  Item, 
cone.  Flor.  in  doctrin.  de  Sacram. 

2  Ead.  sess.  14. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  185 

of  performing  whatever  is  necessary  to  the  proper  reception  of 
the  Sacrament,  it  thus,  at  length,  prepares  us  for  the  remission 
of  sin."  From  this  definition,  therefore,  the  faithful  will  per 
ceive  that  contrition  does  not  simply  consist  in  ceasing  to  sin, 
purposing  to  enter,  or  having  actually  entered,  on  a  new  life : 
it  supposes,  first  of  all,  a  hatred  of  sin,  and  a  desire  of  atoning 
for  past  transgressions.  This,  the  cries  of  the  holy  Fathers  of 
antiquity,  which  are  poured  out  in  the  pages  of  inspiration,  suf 
ficiently  prove  :*  "  I  have  laboured  in  my  groaning ;"  says  Da 
vid,  "every  night  I  will  wash  my  bed  ;"  and  again,  "  The  Lord 
hath  heard  the  voice  of  my  weeping."9  "  I  will  recount  to  thee 
all  my  years,"  says  the  prophet  Isaias,  "in  the  bitterness  of  rny 
soul."3  These  and  many  other  expressions  of  the  same  im 
port,  were  called  forth  by  an  intense  hatred  and  a  lively  detes 
tation  of  past  transgressions. 

But,  although  contrition  is  defined  "a  sorrow,"  the  faithful  Thesorrow 

are  not  thence  to  conclude,  that  this  sorrow  consists  in  sensible  w.h.'ch  con" 
f    ,.  ...  /•    i          MI         j  •        trition  re- 

feelmg :  contrition  is  an  act  01  the  will,  and  as  St.  Augustine  quires  ex- 
observes,  sorrow  is  not  penance,  but  the  accompaniment  of  pe-  plained. 
nance.4     By   "  sorrow "   the  Fathers  of  Trent  understood  a 
hatred  and  detestation  of  sin ;  because,  in  this  sense,  the  Sa 
cred  Scriptures  frequently  make  use  of  the  word:  "How  long," 
says  David,  "  shall  I  take  counsels  in  my  soul,  sorrow  in  my 
heart  all  the  day?"5     and  also  because  from  contrition  arises 
sorrow  in  the  inferior  part  of  the  soul,  which,  in  the  language 
of  the  schools,  is  called  the  seat  of  concupiscence.     With  pro 
priety,  therefore,  is  contrition  defined  a  "  sorrow,"  because  it 
produces  sorrow,  a  sorrow  so  intense  that  in  other  days,  peni 
tents,  to  express  its  intensity,  changed  their  garments,  a  practice 
to  which  our  Lord  alludes  when  he  says  ;  "  Wo  to  thee,  Coro- 
zain ;  wo  to  thee,  Bethsaida  :  for  if  in  Tyre  and  Sidon  had  been 
wrought  the  miracles  that  have  been  wrought  in  thee,  they  had 
done  penance,  long  since,  in  sackcloth  and  ashes."8   To  signify  Propriety 
the  intensity  of  this  sorrow,  the  "  detestation  of  sin,"  of  which  oftheword 
we  speak,  is  properly  expressed  by  the  word  "  contrition,"  a  " 

word  which,  literally  understood,  means  the  breaking  into  small 
parts  by  means  of  some  harder  substance,  and  which  is  here 
used  metaphorically,  to   signify  that  our  hearts,  hardened  by 
pride,  are  subdued  and  reduced  by  penance.     Hence  no  other 
sorrow,  not  even  that  which  is  felt  for  the  death  of  parents,  or 
children,  or  for  any  other  visitation  however  calamitous,  is  called 
contrition :    the  word  is  exclusively  employed  to  express  the 
sorrow  with  which  we  are  overwhelmed  by  the  forfeiture  of  the 
grace  of  God  and  of  our  own  innocence.    It  is,  however,  often 
designated  by  other  names :  sometimes  it  is  called  "  contrition  Sometim 
of  heart,"  because  the  word  "heart"   is  frequently  used   in  ^led  by 
Scripture  to  express  the  will,  for  as  the  heart  is  the  principle,  names, 
which  originates  the  motion  of  the  human  system  ;  so,  the  will 

1  Vid.  de  pcenit.  dist.  1.  c.  et  venit,  et  ibid.  dist.  c.  tutnm.  2  Ps.  vL  7 — 9 

3  Isa.  ixxviii.  15.  *  Homil.  50.  *  Ps.  xii.  2.  «  Matt  xi.  21. 

16*  2  A 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

This  sor- 

preme  in 

is  the  faculty  which  governs  and  controls  the  other  powers  of 
the  soul.  By  the  holy  Fathers  it  is  also  called  "  compunction 
of  heart,"  and  hence  the  works  written  by  them  on  contrition 
they  prefer  inscribing,  treatises  on  "compunction  of  heart;"1 
for,  as  imposthumes  are  cut  with  a  lancet  in  order  to  open  a 
passage  to  the  virulent  matter  accumulated  within  ;  so  the  heart 
of  the  sinner  is,  as  it  were,  pierced  with  contrition,  to  enable  it 
to  emit  the  deadly  poison  of  sin  which  rankles  within  it. 
Hence,  contrition  is  called  by  the  Prophet  Joel,  a  rending  of 
the  heart:  "Be  converted  to  me,"  says  he,  "with  all  your 
hearts  in  fasting,  in  weeping,  in  mourning,  and  rend  your 

That  for  past  transgressions  the  sinner  should  experience  the 
row  should  deepest  sorrow,  a  sorrow  not  to  be  exceeded,  will  easily  appear 
from  the  following  considerations.  Perfect  contrition  is  an  act 
of  charity,  emanating  from  what  is  called  filial  fear  :  the  mea 
sure  of  contrition  and  charity  should,  therefore,  it  is  obvious, 
be  the  same  :  but  the  charity  which  we  cherish  towards  God,3  is 
the  most  perfect  love ;  and,  therefore,  the  sorrow  which  contri 
tion  inspires,  should  also  be  the  most  perfect.  God  is  to  be  loved 
above  all  things  ;  and  whatever  separates  us  from  God  is,  there 
fore,  to  be  hated  above  all  things.  It  is,  also,  worthy  of  ob 
servation,  that  to  charity  and  contrition  the  language  of  Scrip 
ture  assigns  the  same  extent :  of  charity  it  is  said  :  "  Thou 
shall  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  thy  whole  heart  :"4  of  contri- 
trition  :  "Be  converted  with  thy  whole  heart."5  Besides,  if  it 
is  true,  that  of  all  objects  which  solicit  our  love,  God  is  the  su 
preme  good,  and  no  less  true,  that  of  all  objects  which  deserve 
our  execration  sin  is  the  supreme  evil  ;  the  same  principle 
which  prompts  us  to  confess  that  God  is  to  be  loved  above  all 
things,  obliges  us  also  of  necessity  to  acknowledge  that  sin  is 
to  be  hated  above  all  things.  That  God  is  to  be  loved  above 
all  things,  so  that  we  should  be  prepared  to  sacrifice  our  lives 
rather  than  offend  him,  these  words  of  the  Redeemer  declare  : 
"  He  that  loveth  father  or  mother  more  than  me,  is  not  worthy 
of  me  :"°  "  He  that  will  save  his  life  shall  lose  it."7  As  cha 
rity,  it  is  the  observation  of  St.  Bernard,  recognises  neither 
measure  nor  limit,  or  to  use  his  own  words,  as  "  the  measure 
of  loving  God  is  to  love  him  without  measure,"8  so  the  measure 
of  hating  sin  should  be,  to  hate  sin  without  measure.  Besides, 
our  contrition  should  be  supreme  not  only  in  degree,  but  also 
in  intensity,  and  thus  perfect,  excluding  all  apathy  and  indiffe 
rence,  according  to  these  words  of  Deuteronomy  :  "  When  thou 
shalt  seek  the  Lord  thy  God,  thou  shall  find  him  :  yet  so  if  thou 
seek  him  with  all  thy  heart,  and  all  the  affliction  of  thy  soul  ;"9 
and  of  the  prophet  Jeremiah  :  "  thou  shalt  seek  me  and  shalt 
find  me,  when  thou  shalt  seek  me  with  all  thy  heart ;  and  I 

1  Chrysost.  de  compunct  cordis.  Triden.  de  summo  bono,  lib.  2.  c.  12. 

2  Joel  ii.  12.  3  ]  John  iv.  7.  4  Deut.  vi.  5.  s  Joel  ii.  12 
6  Matt.  x.  37.                                       "<  Matt.  xvi.  25.    Mark  vii.  35. 

«  Lab.  de  diligendo  Deo  circa  med.  »  Deut  iv.  29. 



And  also 
in  inten- 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  187 

will  be  found  by  thee,  saith  the  Lord."1     If,  however,  our  con-  imperfect 
trition  be  not  perfect,  it  may,  nevertheless,  be  true  and  efficacious ;  contrition 
for  as   things  which  fall  under  the  senses  frequently  touch  the  ™ue^fd 
heart  more  sensibly  than  things  purely  spiritual,  it  will  some-  efficacious, 
times    happen  that  persons  feel  more  intense  sorrow   for  the 
death  of  their  children,  than  for  the  grievousness  of  their  sins. 
Our  contrition  may  also  be  true  and  efficacious,  although  unac-  Tears  de- 
companied  with  tears.     That  sorrow  for  his  sins  bathe  the  of-  sirable>  but 
femler  in  tears,  is,  however,  much   to   be  desired    and    com-  sary- 
mended.    On  this  subject  the  words  of  St.  Augustine  are  admi 
rable  :  "  The  spirit  of  Christian  charity,"  says  he,  "  lives  not 
within  you,  if  you  lament  the  body  from  which  the  soul  has  de 
parted,  but  lament  not  the  soul  from  which  God  has  departed."3 
To  the  same  effect  are  the  words  of  the  Redeemer  above  cited : 
"  Wo  to  thee,  Corozain,  wo  to  thee,  Bethsaida,  for  if  in  Tyre 
and  Sidon   had   been  wrought    the    miracles    that   have    been 
wrought  in  thee,  they  had  long  since  done  penance,  in  sack 
cloth  and  ashes."3     Of  this,  however,  we  have  abundant  illus 
tration  in  the  well  known  examples  of  the  Ninevites,4  of  David,5 
of  the  woman  caught  in  adultery,8  and  of  the  Prince  of  the 
Apostles,7  all  of  whom  obtained  the  pardon  of  their  sins,  im 
ploring  the  mercy  of  God  with  abundance  of  tears. 

The  faithful  are  most  earnestly  to  be  exhorted  to  study  to  di-  Contrition 
rect  their   contrition  specially  to  each   mortal  sin  into  which  sno"ld  e*~ 
they  may  have  had  the  misfortune  to  fall :  "  I  will  recount  to  thee,"  mortal  sins, 
says  Isaias,  "  all  my  years  in  the  bitterness  of  my  soul  :"8  as 
if  he  had  said,  "  I  will   count  over  all  my  sins  severally,  that 
my  heart  may  be  pierced  with  sorrow  for  them  all."     In  Eze- 
kiel,  also,  we  read  :  "  If  the  wicked  do  penance  for  all  his  sins, 
he  shall  live."9     In  this  spirit,  St.  Augustine  says  :   "  Let  the 
sinner   consider   the  quality  of  his  sins,  as  affected  by  time, 
place,  variety,  person."10   In  the  work  of  conversion,  however,  Note, 
the  sinner  should  not  despair  of  the  infinite  goodness  and  mercy 
of  God :  he  is  most  desirous  of  our  salvation ;  and,  therefore, 
refuses  not  to  pardon,  but  embraces,  with  a  father's  fondness,  the 
prodigal  child,  the  moment  he  returns  to  a  sense  of  his  duty, 
and  is  converted  to  the  Lord,  detesting  his  sins,  which  he  will 
afterwards,  if  possible,  recall,  severally,  to  his  recollection,  and 
abhor  from  his  inmost  soul.     The  Almighty  himself,  by  the 
mouth  of  his  prophet,  commands  us  to  hope,  when  he  says  : 
"  The  wickedness  of  the  wicked  shall  not  hurt  him,  in  what 
day  soever  he  shall  turn  from  his  wickedness."11 

To  convey  a  knowledge  of  the  most  important  qualities  of   The  quaii 

true  contrition,  what  has  been  said  will  be  found  sufficiently  ties  °f.tru* 
,         ••*.%.  I/.-ITI  _i     •       contntion. 

comprehensive.  In  these  the  faithful  are  to  be  accurately  in 
structed,  that  each  may  know  the  means  of  attaining,  and  may 
have  a  fixed  standard  by  which  to  determine  how  far  he  may  be 

i  Jer.  xxix.  13.  2  Ser.  41.  de  sanctis.  3  tyiatt.  xi.  21. 

4  Jonas  iii.  6.  6  Ps.  6  and  50.  6  Luke  vii.  37.  48.  51. 

7  Luke  xxii.  62.  8  Isa.  xxxviii.  15.  9  Ezek.  xviii.  21. 

10  Lib.  de  vera  et  falsa  relig.  cap.  14.  "  Ezek.  xxxiii.  12. 

188  TTie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

I-  removed  from  the  perfection  of  this  virtue.  We  must,  then, 
in  the  first  place,  detest  and  deplore  all  our  sins  :  if  our  sorrow 
and  detestation  extend  only  to  some,  our  repentance  cannot  be 
sincere  or  salutary  :  "  Whosoever  shall  keep  the  whole  law," 
says  St.  James,  "  but  offend  in  one  point,  is  become  guilty  of 
all."1  In  the  next  place,  our  contrition  must  be  accompanied 
with  a  desire  of  confessing  and  satisfying  for  our  sins  :  dispo- 
111-  sitions  of  which  we  shall  treat  in  their  proper  place.  Thirdly, 
the  penitent  must  form  a  fixed  and  firm  purpose  of  amendment 
of  life,  according  to  these  words  of  the  prophet:  "  If  the 
wicked  do  penance  for  all  his  sins  which  he  hath  committed, 
and  keep  all  my  commandments,  and  do  judgment  and  justice, 
living  he  shall  live,  and  shall  not  die :  I  will  not  remember  all 
his  iniquities  which  he  hath  done ;"  and  a  little  after ;  "  Be 
converted,  and  do  penance  for  all  your  iniquities,  and  iniquity 
shall  not  be  your  ruin.  Cast  away  from  you  all  your  trans 
gressions,  by  which  you  have  transgressed,  and  make  your- 
Illustra-  selves  a  new  heart."3  To  the  woman  caught  in  adultery  the 
Redeemer  himself  imparts  the  same  lesson  of  instruction  :  "  Go 
thy  way,  and  sin  no  more,"3  and  also  to  the  lame  man  whom  he 
cured  at  the  pool  of  Bethsaida  :  "  Behold,  thou  art  made  whole, 
sin  no  more."4  That  a  sorrow  for  sin,  and  a  firm  purpose  of 
avoiding  sin  for  the  future,  are  indispensable  to  contrition,  is 
the  dictate  of  unassisted  reason.  He  who  would  be  reconciled 
to  a  friend,  must  regret  to  have  injured  or  offended  him  ;  and 
the  tone  and  tenor  of  his  conduct  must  be  such  that  the  charge  of 
violating  the  duties  of  friendship  cannot,  in  future,  justly  attach 
to  his  character.  These  are  principles  to  which  man  is  bound 
to  yield  obedience ;  the  law  to  which  man  is  subject,  be  it  natu 
ral,  divine,  or  human,  he  is  bound  to  obey.  If,  therefore,  by 
force  or  fraud,  the  penitent  has  injured  his  neighbour  in  his  pro 
perty,  he  is  bound  to  restitution :  if,  by  word  or  deed  he  has 
injured  his  honour  or  reputation,  he  is  under  an  obligation  of 
repairing  the  injury,  according  to  the  well  known  maxim  of  St. 
Augustine  :  "  the  sin  is  not  forgiven  unless  what  has  been  taken 
IV.  away  is  restored."5  In  the  fourth  and  last  place,  and  the  con 
dition  is  no  less  important,  true  contrition  must  be  accompa 
nied  with  forgiveness  of  the  injuries  which  we  may  have  sus 
tained  from  others.  This  our  Lord  emphatically  declares  and 
energetically  inculcates,  when  he  says :  "  If  you  will  forgive 
men  their  offences,  your  heavenly  Father  will  forgive  you  also 
your  offences ;  but  if  you  will  not  forgive  men,  neither  will 
your  Father  forgive  you  your  offences."8  These  are  the  con 
ditions  which  true  contrition  requires.  There  are  other  accom 
paniments  which,  although  not  essential,  contribute  to  render 
contrition  more  perfect  in  its  kind,  and  which  will  reward, 
without  fatiguing  the  industry  of  the  pastor. 

Efficacy          It  will  conduce  in  an  eminent  degree,  to  the  spiritual  interests 
and  iraport- 

1  James  ii.  10.  2  Ezek.  xviii.  21, 22.  3  John  viii.  11 

*  John  v.  14  5  Epist.  v.  4.  6  Matt  vi.  14. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  189 

of  the  faithful,  if  the  pastor  press  frequently  upon  their  attention,  ance  of 
the  efficacy  and  importance  of  contrition.  To  make  known  the  contriuou- 
truths  of  salvation  should  not  be  deemed  a  full  discharge  of  the 
duty  of  the  pastor :  his  zeal  should  be  exerted  to  persuade  them 
to  the  adoption  of  these  truths  as  their  rule  of  conduct  through 
life,  as  the  governing  principle  of  all  their  actions.  Other  pious 
exercises,  such  as  alms,  fasting,  prayer,  and  the  like,  in  them 
selves  holy  and  commendable,  are  sometimes,  through  human 
infirmity,  rejected  by  Almighty  God  ;  but  contrition  can  never 
be  rejected  by  him,  never  prove  unacceptable  to  him  :  "  A  con 
trite  and  humbled  heart,  O  God  !"  exclaims  the  prophet,  "thou 
wilt  not  despise."1  Nay  more,  the  same  prophet  declares  that, 
as  soon  as  we  have  conceived  this  contrition  in  our  hearts,  our 
sins  are  forgiven :  "  I  said,  I  will  confess  my  injustice  to  the 
Lord,  and  thou  hast  forgiven  the  wickedness  of  my  sin."3 
Of  this  we  have  a  figure  in  the  ten  lepers,  who,  when  sent  by 
our  Lord  to  the  priests,  were  cured  of  their  leprosy,  before  they 
had  reached  them  ;3  to  give  us  to  understand,  that  such  is  the 
efficacy  of  true  contrition,  of  which  we  have  spoken  above,  that 
through  it  we  obtain  from  God  the  immediate  pardon  of  our 

To  excite  the  faithful  to  contrition,  it  will  be  found  very  sa-  Spiritual 
lutary  if  the  pastor  point  out  the  spiritual  exercises  conducive  exercises 
to  contrition.    This  is  to  be  accomplished  by  admonishing  them,  ^  contri. 
frequently  to  examine  their  consciences,  in  order  to  ascertain  if  tion. 
they  have  been  faithful  in  the  observance  of  those  things  which 
God  and  his  Church  require  ;  and  should  any  one  be  conscious        II. 
of  crime,  he  should  immediately  accuse  himself,  humbly  solicit       III. 
pardon  from  God,  and  implore  time  to  confess,  and  satisfy  for 
his  sins.     Above  all,  let  him  supplicate  the  aid  of  divine  grace,        IV 
by  which  he  may  be  fortified  against  a  relapse  into  those  crimes, 
the  commission  of  which  he  now  penitently  deplores.  The  faith-        V 
ful  are  also  to  be  excited  to  a  hatred  of  sin,  arising  from  the 
consideration  of  its  baseness  and  turpitude,  and  of  the  evils  and 
calamities  of  which  it  is  the  poisoned  source,  estranging  us,  as 
it  does,  from  the  friendship  of  God,  to  whom  we   are  already 
indebted  for  so  many  invaluable  blessings,  and  from  whom  we 
might  have  expected  to  receive  gifts  of  still  higher  value,  and 
consigning  us  to  eternal  death,  to  be  the  unhappy  victims  of  the 
most  excruciating  torments. 

Having  said  thus  much  on  contrition,  we  now  come  to  con-  Confession, 
fession,  which  is  another  part  of  penance.    The  care  and  exact-  1at^c1™port" 
ness  which  its  exposition  demands,  must  be  at  once  obvious,  if         I. 
we  only  reflect,  that  whatever  of  piety,  of  holiness,  of  religion, 
has  been  preserved  to  our  times  in  the  Church  of  God,  is,  in 
the  general  opinion  of  the  truly  pious,  to  be  ascribed  in  a  great 
measure,  under  divine  Providence,  to  the  influence  of  Confes 
sion.    It  cannot,  therefore,  be  matter  of  surprise,  that  the  enemy 
of  the  human  race,  in  his  efforts  to  level  to  its  foundation  the 

»  Ps.  1. 19.  2  Pa.  xxxi.  5.  »  Luke  xvii.  14. 

190  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

fabric  of  Catholicity,  should,  through  the  agency  of  the  minis 
ters  of  his  wicked  designs,  have  assailed,  with  all  his  might, 
this  bulwark  of  Christian  virtue.  The  pastor,  therefore,  will 
teach,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  institution  of  confession  is  most 
useful  and  even  necessary. 

II.  Contrition,  it  is  true,  blots  out  sin  ;  but  who  is  ignorant,  that 
to  effect  this,  it  must  be  so  intense,  so  ardent,  so  vehement,  as 
to  bear  a  proportion  to  the  magnitude  of  the  crimes  which  it 
effaces  ?     This  is  a  degree  of  contrition  which  few  reach,  and 
hence,  through  perfect  contrition  alone,  very  few  indeed  could 
hope  to  obtain  the  pardon  of  their  sins.     It,  therefore,  became 
necessary,  that  the  Almighty,  in  his  mercy,  should  afford  a  less 
precarious  and  less  difficult  means  of  reconciliation,  and  of  sal 
vation  ;    and  this  he  has  done,   in  his  admirable  wisdom,  by 
giving  to  his  Church  the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven.     Ac 
cording  to  the  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church,  a  doctrine  firmly 
to  be  believed  and  professed  by  all  her  children,  if  the  sinner 
have  recourse  to  the  tribunal  of  penance  with  a  sincere  sorrow 
for  his  sins,  and  a  firm  resolution  of  avoiding  them  in  future, 
although  he  bring  not  with  him  that  contrition  which  may  be 
sufficient  of  itself  to  obtain  the  pardon  of  sin ;  his  sins  are  for 
given  by  the  minister  of  religion,  through  the  power  of  the  keys. 
Justly,  then,  do  the  Holy  Fathers  proclaim,  that  by  the  keys 
of  the  Church,  the   gate  of  heaven  is  thrown  open  ;l  a  truth 
which  the  decree  of  the  Council  of  Florence,  declaring  that  the 
effect  of  penance  is  absolution  from  sin,  renders  it  imperative 
on  all,  unhesitatingly  to  believe.3 

III.  To  appreciate  the  advantages  of  confession,  we  should  not 
lose  sight  of  an  argument  which  has  the  sanction  of  experience. 
To  those  who  have  led  immoral  lives,  nothing  is  found  so  use 
ful  towards  a  reformation  of  morals,  as  sometimes  to  disclose 
their  secret  thoughts,  their  words,  their  actions,  to  a  prudent 
and  faithful  friend,  who  can  guide  them  by  his  advice,  and  assist 
them  by  his  co-operation.    On  the  same  principle  must  it  prove 
most  salutary  to  those,  whose  minds  are  agitated  by  the  conscious 
ness  of  guilt,  to  make  known  the  diseases  and  wounds  of  their 
souls  to  the  priest,  as  the  vicegerent  of  Jesus  Christ,  bound  to 
eternal  secrecy  by  every  law  human  and  divine.     In  the  tribu 
nal  of  penance  they  will  find  immediate  remedies,  the  healing 
qualities  of  which  will  not  only  remove  the  present  malady,  but 
also  prove  of  such  lasting  efficacy  as  to  be,  in  future,  an  anti 
dote  against  the  easy  approach  of  the  same  moral  disease. 

IV  Another  advantage,  derivable  from  confession,  is  too  impor 

tant  to  be  omitted :  confession  contributes  powerfully  to  the 
preservation  of  social  order.  Abolish  sacramental  confession, 
and,  that  moment,  you  deluge  society  with  all  sorts  of  secret 
crimes — crimes  too,  and  others  of  still  greater  enormity,  which 
men,  once  that  they  have  been  depraved  by  vicious  habits,  will 

1  Ambr.  serin.  1,  de  quadrag.  citatur  de  poenit,  dist.  1.  c.  ecce  nunc.  August,  lib. 
2  de  adul.  conjug.  59.  Chrysost  de  sacerdot.  lib.  3. 

2  Flor.  Cone,  in  decreto  Eugenii.  IV.  de  poenit.  dist.  6.  c.  sacerdos. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  191 

not  dread  to  commit  in  open  day.  The  salutary  shame  that 
attends  confession,  restrains  licentiousness,  bridles  desire,  and 
coerces  the  evil  propensities  of  corrupt  nature. 

Having  explained  the  advantages  of  confession,  the  pastor  Nature  and 
will  next  unfold  its  nature  and  efficacy.  Confession,  then,  is  efficacyof 
defined  "  A  sacramental  accusation  of  one's  self,  made  to  obtain 
pardon  by  virtue  of  the  keys."  It  is  properly  called  "  an  ac 
cusation,"  because  sins  are  not  to  be  told  as  if  the  sinner  boasted 
of  his  crimes,  as  they  do,  "  who  are  glad  when  they  have  done 
evil  ;"*  nor  are  they  to  be  related  as  idle  stories  or  passing  oc 
currences,  to  amuse  :  they  are  to  be  confessed  as  matters  of 
self-accusation,  with  a  desire,  as  it  were,  to  avenge  them  on 
ourselves.  But  we  confess  our  sins  with  a  view  to  obtain  the 
pardon  of  them ;  and,  in  this  respect,  the  tribunal  of  penance 
differs  from  other  tribunals,  which  take  cognizance  of  capital 
offences,  and  before  which  a  confession  of  guilt  is  sometimes 
made,  not  to  secure  acquittal  but  to  justify  the  sentence  of  the 
law.  The  definition  of  confession  by  the  Holy  Fathers,3  al 
though  different  in  words,  is  substantially  the  same  :  "  Confes 
sion,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  is  the  disclosure  of  a  secret  dis 
ease,  with  the  hope  of  obtaining  a  cure  ;"3  and  St.  Gregory ; 
"  confession  is  a  detestation  of  sins  :"4  both  of  which  accord 
with,  and  are  contained  in  the  preceding  definition. 

The  pastor  will  next  teach,  with  all  the  decision  due  to  a  instituted 
revealed  truth,  a  truth  of  paramount  importance,  that  this  Sa-  by  Christ, 
crament  owes  its  institution  to  the  singular  goodness  and  mercy 
of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  ordered  all  things  well,  and 
solely  with  a  view  to  our  salvation.5  After  his  resurrection,  he 
breathed  on  the  assembled  Apostles,  saying :  "  Receive  ye  the 
Holy  Ghost,  whose  sins  you  shall  forgive,  they  are  forgiven ; 
and  whose  sins  you  shall  retain,  they  are  retained."8  By  in 
vesting  the  sacerdotal  character  with  power  to  retain  as  well  as 
to  remit  sins,  he  thus,  it  is  manifest,  constitutes  them  judges  in 
the  causes  on  which  this  discretionary  power  is  to  be  exercised. 
This  he  seems  to  have  signified  when,  having  raised  Lazarus 
from  the  dead,  he  commanded  his  Apostles  to  loose  him  from 
the  bands  in  which  he  was  bound.7  This  is  the  interpretation 
of  St.  Augustine :  "  they,"  says  he,  "  the  priests,  can  now 
do  more :  they  can  exercise  greater  clemency  towards  those 
who  confess,  and  whose  sins  they  forgive.  The  Lord  by  the 
hands  of  his  Apostles  delivered  Lazarus,  whom  he  had  already 
raised  from  the  dead,  to  be  loosed  by  the  hands  of  his  disci 
ples  ;  thus  giving  us  to  understand  that  to  priests  was  given  the 
power  of  loosing."8  To  this,  also,  refers  the  command  given  II. 
by  our  Lord  to  the  lepers  cured  on  the  way,  to  show  themselves 

i  Prov.  ii.  14.  2  Chrysost.  20,  in  Genes. 

3  Aug.  ser.  4,  de  verbis  Domini.  •>  Greg.  horn.  40.  in  Evangel. 

5  Vid.  Trid.  sess.  14.  de  poenit.  e.  5.  et  can.  0.  Aug.  lib.  50.  horn,  homil.  64,  et 
citatur  de  poenit.  dist.  1.  c.  agite.  Orig.  horn.  1.  in  Psal.  37.  Chrysost.  de  sacerd.  lib.  3 
«  John  xx.  22,  23.  7  John  si.  44. 

s  De  vera  et  lalsa  pcenit.  c.  1C.  et  serm.  8,  de  verbis  Domini. 

J92  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

to  the  priests,  and  subject  themselves  to  their  judgment  *  In 
vested,  then,  as  they  are,  by  our  Lord  with  power  to  remit  and 
retain  sins,  priests  are,  evidently,  appointed  judges  of  the  mat 
ter  Oil  which  they  are  to  pronounce  ;  and  as,  according  to  the 
wise  admonition  of  the  Council  of  Trent,  we  cannot  form  an 
accurate  judgment  on  any  matter,  or  award  to  crime  a  just  pro 
portion  of  punishment,  without  having  previously  examined, 
and  made  ourselves  well  acquainted  with  the  cause  ;  hence 
arises  a  necessity,  on  the  part  of  the  penitent,  of  making  known 
to  the  priest,  through  the  medium  of  confession,  each  and  every 
sin.a  This  doctrine,  a  doctrine  defined  by  the  holy  synod  of 
Trent,  the  uniform  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church,  the  pastor 
III.  will  teach.  An  attentive  perusal  of  the  Holy  Fathers  will  pre 
sent  innumerable  passages  throughout  their  works,  proving  in 
the  clearest  terms  that  this  Sacrament  was  instituted  by  our 
Lord,  and  that  the  law  of  sacramental  confession,  which,  from 
the  Greek,  they  call  "  exomologesis,"  and  "  exagoreusis,"  is 
to  be  received  as  evangelical.  That  the  different  sorts  of  sa 
crifices,  which  were  offered  by  the  priests  for  the  expiation  of 
different  sorts  of  sins,  seem,  beyond  all  doubt,  to  have  reference 
to  sacramental  confession,  an  examination  of  the  figures  of  the 
Old  Testament  will  also  evince. 

Kites  and  Not  only  are  the  faithful  to  be  taught  that  confession  was  in- 
eeremonies  stituted  by  our  Lord  ;  but  they  are  also  to  be  reminded  that,  by 
confession  auth°rJty  of  the  Church,  have  been  added  certain  rites  and 
solemn  ceremonies,  which,  although  not  essential  to  the  Sacra 
ment,  serve  to  place  its  dignity  more  fully  before  the  eyes  of 
the  penitent,  and  to  prepare  his  soul,  now  kindled  into  devotion, 
the  more  easily  to  receive  the  grace  of  the  Sacrament.  When, 
with  uncovered  head,  and  bended  knees,  with  eyes  fixed  on  the 
earth,  and  hands  raised  in  supplication  to  heaven,  and  with  other 
indications  of  Christian  humility  not  essential  to  the  Sacrament, 
we  confess  our  sins,  our  minds  are  thus  deeply  impressed  with 
a  clear  conviction  of  the  heavenly  virtue  of  the  Sacraments,  and 
also  of  the  necessity  of  humbly  imploring  and  of  earnestly  im 
portuning  the  mercy  of  God. 

Confession  Nor  let  it  be  supposed  that  confession,  although  instituted  by 
necessary.  our  Lord,  is  not  declared  by  him  necessary  for  the  remission 
of  sin  :  the  faithful  must  be  impressed  with  the  conviction,  that 
he  who  is  dead  in  sin,  is  to  be  recalled  to  spiritual  life  by  means 
of  sacramental  confession,  a  truth  clearly  conveyed  by  our  Lord 
himself,  when,  by  a  most  beautiful  metaphor,  he  calls  the  power 
of  administering  this  sacrament,  "the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of 
heaven."8  To  obtain  admittance  into  any  place,  the  concur 
rence  of  him  to  whom  the  keys  have  been  committed  is  neces 
sary,  and  therefore,  as  the  metaphor  implies,  to  gain  admission 

1  Luke  xvii.  14. 

2  Sess.  14.  c.  5.  et  can.  7.  de  poenit.  Sacerdotes  «*sse  pecatorum  judices  docent 
August,  lib.  20.  de  civil.  Dei,  c.  9.  Hieron.  epist.  1.  ad  Heliod.  Chrysost.  lib.  3.  de 
Sacerd.  et  hom.  5.  de  verbis  Isaise.  Greg.  horn.  26.  in  Evang.  Ambr.  lib.  2.  de  Cain, 

.  Greg. 
cap.  4.  Trid.  sess.  14.  de  poenit.  c.  5.  can.  7. 

3  Matt.  xvi.  19. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  103 

into  heaven,  its  gates  must  be  opened  to  us  by  the  power  of  the 
keys,  confided  by  Almighty  God  to  the  care  of  his  Church. 
This  power  should  otherwise  be  nugatory:  if  heaven  can  be 
entered  without  the  power  of  the  keys,  in  vain  shall  they  to 
whose  fidelity  they  have  been  intrusted,  assume  the  prerogative 
of  prohibiting  indiscriminate  entrance  within  its  portals.  This 
doctrine  was  familiar  to  the  mind  of  St.  Augustine :  "  Let  no 
man,"  says  he,  "say  within  himself;  'I  repent  in  secret  with 
God ;  God,  who  has  power  to  pardon  me,  knows  the  inmost 
sentiments  of  my  heart :'  was  there  no  reason  for  saying : 
'  whatsoever  you  loose  on  earth,  shall  be  loosed  in  heaven  ;'*  no 
reason  why  the  keys  were  given  to  the  Church  of  God?"3 
The  same  doctrine  is  recorded  by  the  pen  of  St.  Ambrose,  in 
his  treatise  on  penance,  when  refuting  the  heresy  of  the  Nova- 
tians,  who  asserted  that  the  power  of  forgiving  sins  belonged 
solely  to  God  :  "  Who,"  says  he,  "  yields  greater  reverence  to 
God,  he  who  obeys  or  he  who  resists  his  commands  ?  God 
commands  us  to  obey  his  ministers  ;  and  by  obeying  them,  we 
honour  God  alone. "a 

As  the  law  of  confession  was,  no  doubt,  enacted  and  esta-  Confession 
blished  by  our  Lord  himself,  it  is  our  duty  to   ascertain,  on  obligatory, 
whom,  at  what  age,  and  at  what  period  of  the  year,  it  becomes  *"  ' 
obligatory.     According  to  the  canon  of  the  Council  of  Lateran, 
which  begins:   "  Omnis  utriusque  sexus,"  no  person  is  bound 
by  the  law  of  confession  until  he  has  arrived  at  the  use  of  rea 
son,  a  time  determinable  by  no  fixed  number  of  years.4    It  may, 
however,  be  laid  down  as  a  general  principle,  that  children  are 
bound  to  go  to  confession,  as  soon  as  they  are  able  to  discern 
good  from  evil,  and  are  capable  of  malice ;  for,  when  arrived  at 
an  age  to  attend  to  the  work  of  salvation,  every  one  'is  bound  to 
have  recourse  to  the  tribunal  of  penance,  without  which  the 
sinner  cannot  hope  for  salvation.    In  the  same  canon  the  Church  At  what 
has  defined  the  period,  within  which  we  are  bound  to  discharge  lime- 
the  duty  of  confession :  it  commands  all  the  faithful  to  confess 
their  sins  at  least  once  a  year.5   If,  however,  we  consult  for  our 
eternal  interests,  we  will  certainly  not  neglect  to  have  recourse 
to  confession  as  often,  at  least,  as  we  are  in  danger  of  death,  or 
undertake  to  perform  any  act  incompatible  with  the  state  of  sin, 
such  as  to  administer  or  receive  the  sacraments.     The  same 
rule  should  be  strictly  followed  when  we  are  apprehensive  of 
forgetting  some  sin,  into  which  we  may  have  had  the  misfortune 
to  fall :  to  confess  our  sins,  we  must  recollect  them ;  and  the 
remission  of  them  we  can  only  obtain  through  the  sacrament  of 
penance,  of  which  con-fession  is  a  part. 

But  as,  in  confession,  many  things  are  to  be  observed,  some  integrity 
of  which  are  essential,  some  not  essential  to  the  sacrament,  the  ess"Hi!l1  to 
faithful  are  to  be  carefully  instructed  on  all  these  matters  ;  and  the  fefsjon ^ 
pastor  can  have  access  to  works,  from  which  such  instructions  what  it 


i  Lib.  50.  horn.  49.  2  Matt,  xviii.  18.  »  Lib.  1.  de  pern.  2. 

<  Lat.  cone.  cap.  22.  *  Lat.  cone.  cap.  21. 

17  2B 

194  The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

may  easily  be  drawn.  Amongst  these  matters,  he  will,  on  no 
account,  omit  to  inform  the  faithful,  that  to  a  good  confession 
integrity  is  essential.  All  mortal  sins  must  be  revealed  to  the 
minister  of  religion  :  venial  sins,  which  do  not  separate  us  from 
the  grace  of  God,  and  into  which  we  frequently  fall,  although 
as  the  experience  of  the  pious  proves,  proper  and  profitable  to 
be  confessed,  may  be  omitted  without  sin,  and  expiated  by  a 
variety  of  other  means.1  Mortal  sins,  as  we  have  already  said, 
although  buried  in  the  darkest  secrecy,  and  also  sins  of  desire 
only,  such  as  are  forbidden  by  the  ninth  and  tenth  command 
ments,  are  all  and  each  of  them  to  be  made  matter  of  confes 
sion.  Such  secret  sins  often  inflict  deeper  wounds  on  the  soul, 
than  those  which  are  committed  openly  and  publicly.  It  is, 
however,  a  point  of  doctrine  defined  by  the  Council  of  Trent  ;a 
and  as  the  holy  Fathers  testify,  the  uniform  and  universal  doc 
trine  of  the  Catholic  Church  :  "  Without  the  confession  of  his 
sin,"  says  St.  Ambrose,  "  no  man  can  be  justified  from  his 
sin."3  In  confirmation  of  the  same  doctrine,  St.  Jerome,  on 
Ecclesiastes,  says  ;  "  If  the  serpent,  the  devil,  has  secretly  and 
without  the  knowledge  of  a  third  person,  bitten  any  one,  and 
has  infused  into  him  the  poison  of  sin ;  if  unwilling  to  disclose 
his  wound  to  his  brother  or  master,  he  is  silent  and  will  not  do 
penance,  his  master  who  has  power  to  cure  him,  can  render 
him  no  service."  The  same  doctrine  we  find  in  St.  Cyprian, 
in  his  sermon  on  the  lapsed :  "  Although  guiltless,"  says  he, 
"  of  the  heinous  crime  of  sacrificing  to  idols,  or  of  having  pur 
chased  certificates  to  that  effect ;  yet.  as  they  entertained  the 
thought  of  doing  so,  they  should  confess  it  with  grief,  to  the 
priest  of  God."4  In  fine,  such  is  the  unanimous  voice,  such 
the  unvarying  accord  of  all  the  Doctors  of  the  Church.5 
Aggrava-  In  confession  we  should  employ  all  that  care  and  exactness 
ting  cir-  which  we  usually  bestow  upon  worldly  concerns  of  the  greatest 
cesnwhen  moment,  and  all  our  efforts  should  be  directed  to  effect  the  cure 
necessary  of  our  spiritual  maladies  and  to  eradicate  sin  from  the  soul. 

to  be  men-  \yjth  ^ne  bare  enumeration  of  our  mortal  sins,  we  should  not 
tioned  m  ....        .  .  ,      , 

confession,   be  satisfied ;  that  enumeration  we  should  accompany  with  the 

relation  of  such  circumstances  as  considerably  aggravate  or  ex 
tenuate  their  malice.  Some  circumstances  are  such,  as  of  them 
selves  to  constitute  mortal  guilt;  on  no  account  or  occasion 
whatever,  therefore,  are  such  circumstances  to  be  omitted.  Has 
any  one  imbrued  his  hands  in  the  blood  of  his  fellow  man  ? 
He  must  state  whether  his  victim  was  a  layman  or  an  ecclesi 
astic.  Has  he  had  criminal  intercourse  with  any  one  ?  He 

1  Quomodo  venialia  dimittantur  vide  Aug.  in  Ench.  cap.  71.  citatur  de  poenit. 
dist-  3.  c,  de  quotidianis,  et  in  Cone.  Tolet.  4.  cap.  9. 

2  Sess.  14.  de  poenit.  c.  5.  et  can.  7. 

3  Lib.  de  Paradiso,  c.  4.  c.  1.  super  illud  :  si  mordeat  serpens. 

4  Circa  finem. 

•r>  Singula  percata  mortalia  confiteri  oportere  decent  August,  lib.  de  vera  el 
falsa  poenit.  cap.  10.  Gregor.  homil.  10.  super  Ezekiel.  Ambr.  lib.  de  pared,  cap.  14. 
Hieron.  in  Ecclesiast.  c.  10.  Cypr.  de  lapsis  circa  finem.  Vid.  et  de  posnit.  dist.  3. 
cap.  sunt  plures,  &c.  pluit  et  ibid.  dist.  1.  c.  quern  pcen.  et  ibid,  pass 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  195 

must  state  whether  the  female  was  married  or  unmarried,  a  re 
lative  or  a  person  consecrated  to  God  by  vow.  These  are  cir 
cumstances  which  alter  the  species  of  the  sins  :  the  first  is  called 
simple  fornication  ;  the  second  adultery  ;  the  third  incest ;  and 
the  fourth  sacrilege.  Again,  theft  is  numbered  in  the  catalogue  of 
sins  ;  but  if  a  person  has  stolen  a  guinea,  his  sin  is  less  griev 
ous  than  if  he  had  stolen  one  or  two  hundred  guineas,  or  a  con 
siderable  sum ;  and  if  the  stolen  money  were  sacred,  the  sin 
would  be  still  aggravated.  To  time  and  place  the  same  obser 
vation  equally  applies  ;  but  the  instances  in  which  these  cir 
cumstances  alter  the  complexion  of  an  act,  are  so  familiar  and 
are  enumerated  by  so  many  writers,  as  to  supersede  the  neces 
sity  of  a  lengthened  detail.  Circumstances  such  as  these  are,  Whenun- 
therefore,  to  be  mentioned;  but  those,  which  do  not  consider-  necessary- 
ably  aggravate,  may  be  lawfully  omitted. 

So  important,  as  we  have  already  said,  is  integrity  to  confes-  Conceal- 
sion,  that  if  the  penitent  wilfully  neglect  to  accuse  himself  of  mentofa 
some  sins  which  should  be  confessed,  and  suppress  others,  he  fessionT" 
not  only  does  not  obtain  the  pardon  of  his  sins,  but  involves  grievous 
himself  in  deeper  guilt.     Such  an  enumeration  cannot  be  called  cn™.e:.the 

i  ft       •  ,  .  coniHssioii 

sacramental  confession  :  on  the  contrary,  the  penitent  must  re-  to  be  re 
peat  his  confession,  not  omitting  to  accuse  himself  of  having,  peated. 
under  the  semblance  of  confession,  profaned  the  sanctity  of  the 
sacrament.     But  should  the   confession  seem  defective,  either  Omission  of 
because  the  penitent  forgot  some  grievous  sins,  or  because  al-  a  sin 
though  intent  on  confessing  all  his  sins,  he  did  not  explore  the  forgeUuV 
recesses  of  his  conscience  with  extraordinary  minuteness,  he  is  ness  does 
not  bound  to  repeat  his  confession  :  it  will  be  sufficient,  when  notren^er 
he  recollects  the  sins  which  he  had  forgotten,  to  confess  them  to  r/tonT" 
a  priest  on  a  future  occasion.     We  are  not,  however,  to  exa-  P6^  tne 
mine  our  consciences  with  careless  indifference,  or  evince  such  confession- 
negligence  in  recalling  our  sins  to  our  recollection,  as  if  we 
were  unwilling  to  remember  them  ;  and  should  this  have  been 
the  case,  the  confession  must  be  reiterated. 

Our  confession  should  also  be  plain,  simple,  and  undisguised,  Confession 
not  clothed  in  that  artificial  language  with  which  some  invest  it,  sho.uld  be 
who  seem  more  disposed  to  give  an  outline  of  their  general  man- 
ner  of  living,  than  to  confess  their  sins.  Our  confession  should  be  gui'sed, 
such  as  to  reflect  a  true  image  of  our  lives,  such  as  we  ourselves 
know  them  to  be,  exhibiting  as  doubtful  that  which  is  doubtful, 
and  as  certain  that  which  is  certain.     If,  then,  we  neglect  to 
enumerate  our  sins,  or  introduce  extraneous  matter,  our  confes 
sion,  it  is  clear,  wants  this  quality. 

Prudence  and  modesty  in  explaining  matters  of  confession  prudent, 
are  also  much  to  be  commended,  and  a  superfluity  of  words  is  and  mo" 
to  be  carefully  avoided  :  whatever  is  necessary  to  make  known    est" 
the  nature  of  every  sin,  is  to  be  explained  briefly  and  modestly. 

Secrecy  should  be  strictly  observed  as  well  by  penitent  Secrecy  to 
as  priest,  and,  hence,  because  in  such  circumstances  secrecy  b1  observ- 
must  be  insecure,  no  one  can,  on  any  account,  confess  by  mes-  and* 
senger  or  letter.  tent 

196  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Frequent  But  above  all,  the  faithful  should  be  most  careful  to  cleanse 
confession.  ^^  conscjences  from  sin  by  frequent  confession :  when  op 
pressed  by  mortal  guilt,  nothing  can  be  more  salutary,  so  pre 
carious  is  human  life,  than  to  have  immediate  recourse  to  the 
tribunal  of  penance ;  but  could  we  even  promise  ourselves  length 
of  days,  yet  should  not  we  who  are  so  particular  in  whatever  re 
lates  to  cleanliness  of  dress  or  person,  blush  to  evince  less  con 
cern  in  preserving  the  lustre  of  the  soul  pure  and  unsullied  from 
the  foul  stains  of  sin. 

The  minis-       We  now  come  to  treat  of  the  minister  of  this  sacrament — That 
ter  of  the     tne  mimster  of  the  sacrament  of  penance  must  be  a  priest  pos- 

saerament  ..  ......         .-,      •,  *Ii.     rvu        i 

of  penance,  sessing  ordinary  or  delegated  jurisdiction,  the  laws  01  the  Unurcn 
sufficiently  declare  :  whoever  discharges  this  sacred  function 
must  be  invested,  not  only  with  the  power  of  orders,  but  also 
with  that  of  jurisdiction.  Of  this  ministry  we  have  an  illustrious 
proof  in  these  words  of  the  Redeemer,  recorded  by  St.  John  : 
"  Whose  sins  you  shall  forgive,  they  are  forgiven,  and  whose 
sins  you  shall  retain  they  are  retained  ;"*  words  addressed  not 
to  all  but  to  the  Apostles  only,  to  whom,  in  this  function  of  the 
ministry,  priests  succeed.  This  admirably  accords  with  the 
economy  of  religion,  for  as  the  grace  imparted  by  this  sacrament 
emanates  from  Christ  the  head,  and  is  diffused  through  his 
members,  they  who  alone  have  power  to  consecrate  his  true 
body,  should  alone  have  power  to  administer  this  sacrament  to 
his  mystical  body,  the  faithful ;  particularly  as  they  are  quali 
fied  and  disposed  by  means  of  the  sacrament  of  penance,  to  re 
ceive  the  Holy  Eucharist.  The  scrupulous  care  which,  in  the 
primitive  ages  of  the  Church,  guarded  the  right  of  the  ordinary 
priest,  is  very  intelligible  from  the  ancient  decrees  of  the  Fa 
thers,  which  provided,  "that  no  bishop  or  priest,  except  in  case 
of  necessity,  presume  to  exercise  any  function  in  the  parish  of 
another  without  the  authority  of  the  ordinary ;"  a  law  which 
derives  its  sanction  from  the  Apostle,  when  he  commanded  Ti 
tus  to  ordain  priests  in  every  city,3  to  administer  to  the  faithful 
Any  priest,  the  heavenly  food  of  doctrine  and  of  the  sacraments.  But  in 
the  minis-  case  Of  imminent  danger  of  death,  when  recourse  cannot  be  had 
iremecase!  to  tne  proper  priest,  that  none  may  perish,  the  Council  of  Trent 
teaches  that,  according  to  the  ancient  practice  of  the  Church  of 
God,  it  is  then  lawful  for  any  priest,  not  only  to  remit  all  sorts 
of  sins,  whatever  faculties  they  might  otherwise  require,  but 
also  to  absolve  from  excommunication.3 

Qualifica-         Besides  the  power  of  orders  and  of  jurisdiction,  which  are  of 

tionsofthe  absolute  necessity,  the  minister  of  this  sacrament,  holding  as  he 

does,  the  place  at  once  of  judge  and  physician,  should  also  be 

Know-        gifted  with  knowledge  and  prudence.   As  judge,  his  knowledge, 

fc^ge-         it  is  evident,  should  be  more  than  ordinary,  for  by  it  he  is  to 

examine  into  the  nature  of  sins,  and,  amongst  the  various  sorts 

of  sins,  to  judge  which  are  grievous  and  which  are  not,  keeping 

in  view  the  rank  and  condition  of  the  person.     As  physician, 

1  Johr  K.  23.  2  Tit.  i.  5.  '  Sess.  14.  c.  6.  de  poeriit. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  197 

he  has  also  occasion  for  consummate  prudence,  for  to  him  it  Prudence, 
belongs  to  administer  to  the  distempered  soul   those  sanative 
medicines,  which  will  not  only  effect  the  cure  of  her  present 
malady,  but  prove  preservatives  against  its  future  contagion.1 
The  faithful,  therefore,  will  perceive  the  great  importance  to  be 
attached  to  the  choice  of  a  confessor,  and  will  use  their  best  en 
deavours  to  choose  one  who  is  recommended  by  integrity  of  integrityof 
life,  by  learning  and  prudence,  who  is  deeply  impressed  with  ^ife- 
the  awful  weight  and  responsibility  of  the   station  which  he 
holds,  who  understands  well  the  punishment  due  to  every  sin, 
and  can  also  discern  who  are  to  be  loosed  and  who  to  be  bound. 

But  as  all  are  anxious,  that  their  sins  should  be  buried  in  The  seal  of 
eternal  secrecy,  the  faithful  are  to  be  admonished  that  there  is  confession- 
no  reason  whatever  to  apprehend,  that  what  is  made  known  in 
confession  will  ever  be  revealed  by  any  priest,  or  that  by  it  the 
penitent  can,  at  any  time,  be  brought  into  danger  or  difficulty 
of  any  sort.  All  laws  human  and  divine  guard  the  inviolability 
of  the  seal  of  confession,  and  against  its  sacrilegious  infraction 
the  Church  denounces  her  heaviest  chastisements.3  "Let  the 
priest,"  says  the  great  Council  of  Lateran,  "  take  especial  care, 
neither  by  word  nor  sign,  nor  by  any  other  means  whatever,  to 
betray,  in  the  least  degree,  the  sacred  trust  confided  to  him  by 
the  sinner."3 

Having  treated  of  the  minister  of  this  sacrament,  the  order  Negli- 
of  our  matter  requires,  that  we  next  proceed  to  explain   some  g.ence  °f 
general    heads,   which    are    of  considerable    practical    import 
ance  with  regard  to  confession.     Many,  to  whom,  in  general, 
no  time  seems  to  pass  so  slowly  as  that  which  is  appointed  by 
the  laws  of  the  Church  for  the  duty  of  confession,  so  far  from 
giving  due  attention  to  those  other  matters,  which  are  obviously 
most  efficacious  in  conciliating  the  favour  and  friendship  of  God, 
are  placed  at   such   a  distance   from  Christian   perfection,   as 
scarcely  to  recollect  the  sins,  which  are  to  be  the  matter  of  their 
confession.     As,  therefore,  nothing  is  to  be  omitted,  which  can  The  con 
assist  the  faithful  in  the  important  work  of  salvation,  the  priest  fessorwill 
will  be  careful  to  observe,  if  the  penitent  be  truly  contrite  for  "hTpeni-^ 
his  sins,  and  deliberately  and  firmly  resolved  to  avoid  sin  for  tentbetru 
the  future.     If  the  sinner  is  found  to  be  thus  disposed,  he  is  to  \?  contrite 
be  admonished  and  earnestly  exhorted,  to  pour  out  his  heart  in  treated*  if 
gratitude  to  God  for  this  invaluable  blessing,  and  supplicate  un-  contrite: 
ceasingly  the  aid  of  divine  grace,  shielded  by  which  he  may 
securely  combat  the  evil  propensities  of  corrupt  nature.     He 
should  also  be  taught,  not  to  suffer  a  day  to  pass,  without  de 
voting  a  portion  of  it  to  meditation  on  some  mystery  of  the 
passion,  in  order  to  excite  himself  to  an  imitation  of  his  great 
model,  and  inflame  his  heart  with  ardent  love  for  his  Redeemer. 
The  fruit  of  such  meditation  will  be,  to  fortify  him  more  and 
more,  every  day,  against  all  the  assaults  of  the  devil ;  for,  what 

'  Ex  Basil,  in  reg.  brevibus,  q.  li.  29.  2  Ex  Leonis  Papse  episL  80. 

*  Cap.  21. 



If  not  con 
trite  : 

If  find  of 

or  extenu 
ating  his 

if  under 
(he  influ 
ence  of  a 
shame : 

If  indolent 
or  negli 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

other  reason  is  there,  why  our  courage  sinks,  and  our  strength 
fails,  the  moment  the  enemy  makes  even  the  slightest  attack  on 
us,  but  that  we  neglect  by  pious  meditation,  to  kindle  within 
us  the  fire  of  divine  love,  which  animates  and  invigorates  the 
soul  ?  But,  should  the  priest  perceive,  that  the  penitent  gives 
equivocal  indications  of  true  contrition,  he  will  endeavour  to  in 
spire  him  with  an  anxious  desire  for  it,  inflamed  by  which  he 
may  resolve  to  ask  and  implore  this  heavenly  gift  from  the  mercy 
of  God. 

The  pride  of  some,  who  seek  by  vain  excuses  to  justify  or 
extenuate  their  offences,  is  carefully  to  be  repressed.  If,  for 
instance,  a  penitent  confesses  that  he  was  wrought  up  to  anger, 
and  immediately  transfers  the  blame  of  the  excitement  to  another, 
who,  he  complains,  was  the  aggressor  ;  he  is  to  be  reminded, 
that  such  apologies  are  indications  of  a  proud  spirit,  and  of  a 
man  who  either  thinks  lightly  of,  or  is  unacquainted  with  the 
enormity  of  his  sin,  whilst  they  serve  rather  to  aggravate  than 
extenuate  his  guilt.  He,  who  thus  labours  to  justify  his  con 
duct,  seems  to  say,  that  then  only  will  he  exercise  patience, 
when  no  one  injures  or  offends  him,  a  disposition  than  which 
nothing  can  be  more  unworthy  of  a  Christian.  A  Christian 
should  lament  the  state  of  him  who  inflicted  the  injury,  and, 
yet,  regardless  of  the  grievousness  of  the  sin,  he  is  angry  witli 
his  brother :  having  had  an  opportunity  of  honouring  God  by 
his  exemplary  patience,  and  of  correcting  a  brother  by  his  Chris 
tian  meekness,  he  converts  the  very  means  of  salvation  into  the 
means  of  injuring  his  own  soul. 

Still  more  pernicious  is  the  conduct  of  those,  who  yielding  to 
a  foolish  bashfulness,  cannot  induce  themselves  to  confess  their 
sins.  Such  persons  are  to  be  encouraged  by  exhortation,  and  to 
be  reminded,  that  there  is  no  reason  whatever  why  they  should 
yield  to  such  false  delicacy ;  that  to  no  one  can  it  appear  sur 
prising,  if  persons  fall  into  sin,  the  common  malady  of  the  hu 
man  race,  and  the  natural  appendage  of  human  infirmity. 

There  are  others  who,  either  because  they  seldom  approach  the 
tribunal  of  penance,  or  because  they  have  bestowed  no  care  or 
attention  on  the  examination  of  their  consciences,  know  not  well 
how  to  begin  or  end  their  confession.  Such  persons  deserve  to 
be  severely  rebuked,  and  are  to  be  taught  that  before  any  one 
approaches  the  tribunal  of  penance,  he  should  employ  every  di 
ligence  to  excite  himself  to  contrition  for  his  sins,  and  that  this 
he  cannot  do  without  endeavouring  to  know  and  recollect  them 
severally.  Should  then  the  confessor  meet  persons  of  this  class, 
entirely  unprepared  for  confession,  he  should  dismiss  them 
without  harshness,  exhorting  them  in  the  kindest  terms,  to  take 
some  time  to  reflect  on  their  sins,  and  then  return;  but,  should 
they  declare  that  they  have  already  done  every  thing  in  their 
power  to  prepare,  as  there  is  reason  to  apprehend,  that,  if  sent 
away,  they  may  not  return,  their  confession  is  to  be  heard,  par 
ticularly  if  they  manifest  some  disposition  to  amend  their  lives, 
and  can  be  induced  to  accuse  their  own  negligence,  and  promise 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  199 

to  atone  for  it  at  another  time,  by  a  diligent  and  accurate  scru 
tiny  of  conscience.  In  such  cases,  however,  the  confessor  will 
proceed  with  caution.  If,  after  having  heard  the  confession,  he 
is  of  opinion  that  the  penitent  did  not  want  diligence  in  exa 
mining  his  conscience,  or  sorrow  in  detesting  his  sins,  he  may 
absolve  him  ;  but  if  he  has  found  him  deficient  in  both,  he  will, 
as  we  have  already  said,  admonish  him  to  use  greater  care  in 
his  examination  of  conscience,  and  will  dismiss  him  in  the  kind 
est  manner. 

But  as  it  sometimes  happens,  that  females,  who  may  have  A  remedy 
forgotten  some  sin  in  a  former  confession,  cannot  bring  them-  fa 
selves  to  return  to  the  confessor,  dreading  to  expose  themselves  the  part  of 
to  the  suspicion  of  having  been  guilty  of  something  grievous,  or  tlie  P6™- 
of  looking  for  the  praise  of  extraordinary  piety,  the  pastor  will  te 
frequently  remind  the  faithful,  both  publicly  and  privately,  that 
no  one  is  gifted  with  so  tenacious  a  memory,  as  to  be  able  to 
recollect  all  his  thoughts,  words,  and  actions,  that  the  faithful, 
therefore,  should  they  call  to  mind  any  thing  grievous,  which 
they  had  previously  forgotten,  should  not  be  deterred  from  re 
turning  to  the  priest.     These  and  many  other  matters  of  the 
same  nature,  demand  the  particular  attention  of  the  confessor  in 
the  tribunal  of  penance. 

We  now  come  to  the  third  part  of  penance,  which  is  called  Satisfac- 
satisfaction.  We  shall  begin  by  explaining  its  nature  and  effi-  tlon- 
cacy,  because  the  enemies  of  the  Catholic  Church  have  hence 
taken  ample  occasion,  to  sow  discord  and  division  amongst  Chris 
tians,  to  the  no  small  injury  of  the  Christian  Commonwealth. 
Satisfaction,  then,  is  the  full  payment  of  a  debt,  for  when  satis 
faction  is  made,  nothing  remains  to  be  supplied.  Hence,  when 
we  speak  of  reconciliation  by  grace,  to  satisfy  is  the  same  as  to 
do  that  which  may  be  sufficient  to  atone  to  the  angered  mind  for 
an  injury  offered;  and  thus,  satisfaction  is  nothing  more  than 
"  compensation  for  an  injury  done  to  another."  Hence  theo 
logians  make  use  of  the  word  "  satisfaction,"  to  signify  the  com 
pensation  made  by  man  to  God,  by  doing  something  in  atone 
ment  for  the  sins  which  he  has  committed. 

This  sort  of  satisfaction,  embracing,  as  it  does,  many  degrees,  Its  diffe- 
admits  of  many  acceptations.     The  first  degree  of  satisfaction,  rentde- 
and  that  which  stands  pre-eminently  above  all  the  rest,  is  that  by  gree-[" 
which  whatever  is  due  by  us  to  God,  on  account  of  our  sins,  is 
paid  abundantly,  although  he  should  deal  with  us  according  to 
the  strictest  rigour  of  his  justice.     This,  we  say,  has  appeased 
God  and  rendered  him  propitious  to  us,  and  for  it  we   are   in 
debted  to  Christ  alone,  who,  having  paid  the  price  of  our  sins 
on  the  cross,  offered  to  his  Eternal  Father  a  superabundant  sa 
tisfaction.     No  created  being  could  have  paid  so  heavy  a  debt 
for  us  :     "  He  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins,"  says  St.  John, 
"  and  not  for  ours  only,  but  also  for  those  of  the  whole  world."1 
This  satisfaction,  therefore,  is  full  and  superabundant,  commen- 

i 1  John  ii.  2. 

200  The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

surate  to  all  sorts  of  sins  perpetrated  by  the  human  race :  it  gives 
to  man's  actions  merit  before  God ;  without  it  they  could  avail 
him  nothing  to  eternal  life.  This  David  seems  to  have  had  in 
view,  when,  having  asked  himself,  "  what  shall  I  render  to  the 
Lord,  for  all  the  things  that  he  hath  rendered  to  me  ?"*  and  find 
ing  nothing  worthy  of  such  blessings  but  this  satisfaction,  which 
he  expressed  by  the  word  "  chalice,"  he  replies  :  "  I  will  take 
the  chalice  of  salvation,  and  I  will  call  upon  the  name  of  the 

II.  There  is  another  sort  of  satisfaction,  which  is  called  canoni 

cal,  and  is  performed  within  a  certain  fixed  period  of  time. 
Hence,  according  to  the  most  ancient  practice  of  the  Church, 
when  penitents  are  absolved  from  their  sins,  some  penance  is 
imposed,  the  performance  of  which  is  commonly  called  "  satis 

III.  Any  sort  of  punishment  endured  for  sin,  although  not  imposed 

by  the  priest,  but  spontaneously  undertaken  by  the  sinner,  is 
also  called  by  the  same  name  :  it  belongs  not,  however,  to 
penance  as  a  sacrament:  the  satisfaction  which  constitutes  part 
of  the  sacrament  is,  as  we  have  already  said,  that  which  is 
imposed  by  the  priest,  and  which  must  be  accompanied  with  a 
deliberate  and  firm  purpose  carefully  to  avoid  sin  for  the  future. 
To  satisfy,  as  some  define  it,  is  to  pay  due  honour  to  God,  and 
this,  it  is  evident,  no  person  can  do,  who  is  not  resolved  to 
avoid  sin.  To  satisfy  is  also  to  cut  off*  all  occasions  of  sin,  and 
to  close  every  avenue  of  the  heart  against  its  suggestions.  In 
accordance  with  this  idea  of  satisfaction,  some  have  considered 
it  a  cleansing,  which  effaces  whatever  defilement  may  remain 
in  the  soul  from  the  stains  of  sin,  and  which  exempts  us  from 
the  temporal  chastisements  due  to  sin. 

Necessity  Such  being  the  nature  of  satisfaction,  it  will  not  be  found  dif- 
ofsatisfac-  ficuit  to  convince  the  faithful  of  the  necessity  imposed  on  the 
penitent,  of  satisfying  for  his  sins  :  they  are  to  be  taught  that 
sin  carries  in  its  train  two  evils,  the  stain  which  it  affixes,  and 
the  punishment  which  it  entails.  The  punishment  of  eternal 
death  is,  it  is  true,  forgiven  with  the  sin  to  which  it  was  due, 
yet,  as  the  Council  of  Trent  declares,  the  stain  is  not  always 
entirely  effaced,  nor  is  the  temporal  punishment  always  remit 
ted.3  Of  this  the  Scriptures  afford  many  evident  examples,  as 
we  find  in  the  third  chapter  of  Genesis,4  in  the  twelfth  and 
twenty-second  of  Numbers,5  and  in  many  other  places.  That 
of  David,  however,  is  the  most  conspicuous  and  illustrious. — 
Already  had  Nathan  announced  to  him  :  "  The  Lord  also  hath 
taken  away  thy  sin,  thou  shalt  not  die  ;"8  yet  the  royal  penitent 
voluntarily  subjected  himself  to  the  most  severe  penance,  im 
ploring,  night  and  day,  the  mercy  of  God,  in  these  words : 
"  Wash  me  yet  more  from  my  iniquity,  and  cleanse  me  from 
my  sin,  for  I  know  my  iniquity  and  my  sin  is  always  before 

'  Ps.  cxv.  12.  2  cxv.  13.  *  Sess.  14.  c.  8.  can.  12  et  14. 

«Gen.  iii.  17.  *  N  urn.  xii.  14.  22.  33,  34.  6  2  Kings  xii.  1  a 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  201 

me."1  Thus  did  he  beseech  God  to  pardon  not  only  the  crime, 
but  also  the  punishment  due  to  it,  and  to  restore  him,  cleansed 
from  the  stains  of  sin,  to  his  former  state  of  purity  and  integrity. 
This  is  the  object  of  his  most  earnest  supplications  to  the 
throne  of  God,  and  yet  the  Almighty  punishes  his  transgression 
with  the  death  of  his  adulterous  offspring,  the  rebellion  and 
deatn  of  his  beloved  son  Absalom,  and  with  the  other  heavy 
chastisements  with  which  his  vengeance  had  already  threatened 
him.  In  Exodus  too  the  Almighty,  although  yielding  to  the 
importunity  of  Moses,  he  had  spared  the  idolatrous  Israelites, 
threatens  the  enormity  of  their  crime  with  heavy  chastisement;3 
and  Moses  himself  declares,  that  the  Lord  will  take  vengeance 
on  it,  even  to  the  third  and  fourth  generation.  That  such  was 
at  all  times  the  doctrine  of  the  Fathers,  a  reference  to  their 
writings  will  place  beyond  the  possibility  of  doubt.3 

Why  in  the  sacrament  of  penance,  as  in  that  of  baptism,  the  The  pu- 
punishment  due  to  sin  is  not  entirely  remitted,  is  admirably  ex-  jue^gf^ 
plained  in  these  words  of  the  Council  of  Trent:  "  Divine  jus-  whynotre- 
tice  seems  to  require,  that  they  who  through  ignorance  sinned  mitted  by 
before  baptism,  should  recover  the  friendship  of  God  in  a  dif- 
fererit  manner  from  those,  who,  freed  from  the  thraldom  of  sin 
and  the  slavery  of  the  devil,  and  having  received  the  gifts  of  the 
Holy  Ghost,  dread  not  knowingly  to  violate  the  temple  of  God 
and  grieve  the  Holy  Spirit.     It  also  consists  with  the  divine 
mercy  not  to  remit  our  sins  without  satisfaction,  lest,  taking  oc 
casion  hence,  and  imagining  our  sins  less  grievous  than  they 
are,  injurious,  as  it  were,  and  contumelious  to  the  Holy  Ghost, 
we  fall  into  greater  enormities,  treasuring  up  to  ourselves  wrath 
against  the  day  of  wrath.    These  satisfactory  penances  have,  no  Advanta- 
doubt,  great  influence  in  restraining  from  sin,  in  bridling,  as  it  ^onic  I'M 
were,  the  passions,  and  rendering  the  sinner  more  vigilant  and  nance, 
cautious  for  the  future."4     Another   advantage   resulting  from         *• 
them  is,  that  they  serve  as  public  testimonies  of  our  sorrow  for 
sin,  and  atone  to  the  Church  who  is  grievously  insulted  by  the 
crimes  of  her  children:  "  God,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  despises 
not  a  contrite  and  humble  heart,  but,  as  heartfelt  grief  is  gene 
rally  concealed  from  others,  and  is  not  communicated  by  words 
or  other  signs,  wisely,  therefore,  are  penitential  times  appointed 
by  those  who  preside  over  the  Church,  in  order  to  atone  to  the 
Church,  in  which  sins  are  forgiven."    Besides,  the  example  pre 
sented  by  our  penitential  practices,  serves  as  a  lesson  to  others, 
how  to  regulate  their  lives,  and  practise  piety :  seeing  the  pu 
nishments  inflicted  on  sin,  they  must  feel  the  necessity  of  using 
the  greatest  circumspection  through  life,  and  of  correcting  their 
former  evil  habits.     The  Church,  therefore,  with  great  wisdom 

1  Ps.  1.  4,  5.  2  Exod.  xxxii.  8,  9. 

3  Vide  Aug.  lib.  2.  de  peccat.  merit,  et  remiss,  cap.  34.  et  contra  Faust,  lib.  22. 
cap.  66.  et  prsesertim  in  Joan,  tractat.  124.  paulo  ante  med.  Greg.  lib.  9.  moral,  cap. 
24.  Chrysost.  horn.  8.  ad  pop.  Antioch.  Interum.  Aug.  Ench.  cap.  30.  Ambr.  de  poen. 
lib.  2,  cap.  5.  vide  item  canones  pcenitentiales  apud  Anton.  Aug.  vel  in  actis 

4  Sess.  14.  de  posnit.  cap.  8. 


202  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Wisely  in-  ordained,  that  those  who  by  their  scandalous  disorders  may  have 
KUtutedby  gjven  public  disedification,  should  atone  for  them  by  public 
Church.  penance,  that  others  may  be  thus  deterred  from  their  commis 
sion.  This  has  sometimes  been  observed  even  with  regard  to 
secret  sins,  when  marked  by  peculiar  malignity.1  But  with  re 
gard  to  public  sinners,  they,  as  we  have  already  said,  were 
never  absolved  until  they  had  performed  public  penance.  Mean 
while,  the  pastor  poured  out  his  prayers  to  God  for  their  salva 
tion,  and  ceased  not  to  exhort  them  to  do  the  same.  This  salu 
tary  practice  gave  active  employment  to  the  zeal  and  solicitude 
of  St.  Ambrose ;  many,  who  came  to  the  tribunal  of  penance 
hardened  in  sin,  were  by  his  tears  softened  into  true  contrition.3 
But  in  process  of  time  the  severity  of  ancient  discipline  was  so 
relaxed,  and  charity  waxed  so  cold,  that  in  our  days  many  seem 
to  think  inward  sorrow  of  soul  and  grief  of  heart  unnecessary, 
and  deem  the  semblance  of  sorrow  sufficient. 

By  pe-  Again,  by  undergoing  these  penances  we  are  made  like  unto 

nance  we    the  image  of  Jesus  Christ  our  head,  inasmuch  as   he  himself 
like  unto     suffered  and  was  tempted,3  and,  as  St.  Bernard  observes,  "no- 
Christ,         thing  can  appear  so  unseemly  as  a  delicate  member  under  a  head 
crowned  with  thorns."*   To  use  the  words  of  the  Apostle,  "we 
are  joint-heirs  with  Christ,  yet  so  if  we  suffer  with  him;"5  and 
again :  "  If  we  be  dead  with  him,  we  shall  live  also  with  him  ; 
if  we  suffer,  we  shall  also  reign  with  him."6 

Two  ef-  St.  Bernard  also  observes,  that  sin  produces  two  effects  in 

duceefin  t^ie  sou^ '  ^  one'  ^  stam  w^ich  it  imparts,  the  other,  the 
the  soul  by  wound  which  it  inflicts ;  that  the  turpitude  of  sin  is  removed 
sin,  remov-  through  the  mercy  of  God,  whilst  to  heal  the  wound  inflict- 
nanc5e.Pe  e(*'  t^ie  medicinal  care  applied  by  penance  is  most  necessa 
ry  ;  for  as  after  a  wound  has  been  healed,  some  scars  remain 
which  demand  attention,  so  with  regard  to  the  soul,  after  the 
guilt  of  sin  is  forgiven,  some  of  its  effects  remain,  from  which 
the  soul  requires  to  be  cleansed.  St.  Chrysostome  also  fully 
confirms  the  same  doctrine,  when  he  says :  "  Not  enough  that 
the  arrow  has  been  extracted  from  the  body,  the  wound  which 
it  inflicted  must  also  be  healed :  so  with  regard  to  the  soul,  not 
enough  that  sin  has  been  pardoned,  the  wound  which  it  has 
left,  must  also  be  healed  by  penance."7  St.  Augustine,  also, 
frequently  teaches  that  penance  exhibits  at  once  the  mercy  and 
the  justice  of  God,  his  mercy  by  which  he  pardons  sin,  and  the 
eternal  punishment  due  to  sin,  his  justice  by  which  he  exacts 
temporary  punishment  from  the  sinner.8 

Penance          Finally,  the  punishment  which  the  sinner  endures,  disarms 
disarms  the  fae  vengeance  of  God,  and  prevents  the  punishments  decreed 

1  Vide  Aug.  lib.  5,  de  civit.  Dei  cap.  26.  et  ep.  54.  et  lib.  50.  horn.  49.  et  de  vera 
et  falsa  poen.  passim.    Ambr.  lib.  2.  de  pcenit.  c.  10.  et  citatur  de  poen.  dist.  3.  cap. 
reperiuntur.  Cypr.  de  lapsis  multis  in  locis.  Cone.  Agath.  cap.  35.  et  citatur.  dist. 
50.  cap.  poenitentes. 

2  Paulinus  et  ejus  vita.  3  Heb.  ii.  17.  4  Serm.  5.  de  omn.  sanct 
s  Rom.  viii.  17.                            «  2  Tim.  ii.  11,  12. 

7  Serm.  1.  in  cocna  Domini.  Horn.  80.  ad  Pop.  Antioch. 
s  In  Ps.  1.  ad  hffic  verba,  ECCE  EMM  VENIT. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  203 

against  us,  according  to  these  words  of  the  Apostle :  "  If  we  Divine 
would  judge  ourselves,  we  should  not  be  judged ;  but  whilst  vengeance 
we  are  judged,  we  are  chastised  by  the  Lord,  that  we  be  not 
condemned  with  this  world."1     These  matters,  if  explained  to 
the  faithful,  must  have  considerable  influence  in  exciting  them 
to  penance. 

Of  the  great  efficacy  of  penance  we  may  form  some  idea,  if  The  effica- 
we  reflect  that  it  arises  entirely  from  the  merits  of  the  passion  CY  of  P6' 
of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ :  it  is  his  passion  that  imparts  to  our  ar;ses  en. 
good  actions  the  two-fold  quality  of  meriting  the  rewards  of  tirelyfrom 
eternal  life,  so  that  a  cup  of  cold  water  given  in  his  name  shall  ^o^0" 
not  be  without  its  reward,3  and,  also,  of  satisfying  for  our  sins.3 
Nor  does  this  derogate  from  the  most  perfect  and  superabundant 
satisfaction  of  Christ,  but,  on  the  contrary,  renders  it  still  more 
conspicuous  and  illustrious ;  the  grace  of  Jesus  Christ  appears 
to  abound  more,  inasmuch  as  it  communicates  to  us  not  only 
what  he  alone  merited,  but  also  what,  as  head,  he  merited  and 
paid  in  his  members,  that  is,  in  holy  and  just  men.  This  it  is 
that  imparts  such  weight  and  dignity  to  the  good  actions  of  the 
pious  Christian ;  for  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  continually  infuses 
his  grace  into  the  devout  soul  united  to  him  by  charity,  as  the 
head  to  the  members,  or  as  the  vine  through  the  branches,  and 
this  grace  always  precedes,  accompanies,  and  follows  our  good 
works :  without  it  we  can  have  no  merit,  nor  can  we  at  all  sa 
tisfy  God.  Hence  it  is  that  nothing  seems  wanting  to  the  just : 
by  their  works  done  by  the  power  of  God,  they  fulfil  the  divine 
law,  as  far  as  is  compatible  with  our  present  condition,  and  can 
merit  eternal  life,  to  the  fruition  of  which  they  shall  be  admit 
ted,  if  they  depart  this  life  adorned  with  divine  grace  :  "  He," 
says  the  Redeemer,  "  that  shall  drink  of  the  water  that  I  will 
give  him,  shall  not  thirst  for  ever;  but  the  water  that  I  will  give 
him  shall  become  in  him  a  fountain  of  water,  springing  up  into 
life  everlasting."4 

In  satisfaction  two  things  are  particularly  required;  the  one,  Twothmgs, 
that  he  who  satisfies  be  in  a  state  of  grace,  the  friend  of  God  :  Partlcula|"- 
works  done  without  faith  and  charity  cannot  be  acceptable  to  ry  ilTsads*" 
God :  the  other,  that  the  works  performed  be  such  as  are  of  faction, 
iheir  own  nature  painful  or  laborious.     They  are  a  compensa 
tion  for  past  sins,  and,  to  use  the  words  of  St.  Cyprian,  "  the 
redeemers,  as  it  were,  of  sins,"5  and  must,  therefore,  be  such 
as  we  have  described.     It  does  not,  however,  always  follow  Note 
that  they  are  painful  or  laborious  to  those  who  undergo  them  : 
the  influence  of  habit  or  the  intensity  of  divine  love  frequently 
renders  the  soul  insensible  to  things  the  most  difficult  to  be 
endured.     Such  works,  however,  do  not,  therefore,  cease  to  be 
satisfactory  :  it  is  the  privilege  of  the  children  of  God  to  be 
so  inflamed  with  his  love,  that  whilst  undergoing  the  most  cruel 
tortures  for  his  sake,  they  are  either  entirely  insensible  to  them, 

i  1  Cor.  xi.  31,  32.  2  Matt  x.  42. 

3  Vid.  de  poenit.  sess  14.  cap.  8.  et  can.  13, 14.  et  sess.  6.  de  justific.  c.  18. 

*  John  iv.  14.  5  Lib.  1.  Epist.  3,  post.  med. 


Every  sort 
of  satisfac 
tion  includ 
ed  under 

Use  and 
of  afflic 

One  can 

satisfy  for 




The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

or  at  least  bear  them  not  only  with  fortitude  but  with  the  great 
est  joy. 

The  pastor  will  teach  that  every  species  of  satisfaction  is  in 
cluded  under  these  three  heads,  prayer,  fasting,  and  alms-deeds, 
which  correspond  with  these  three  sorts  of  goods,  those  of  the 
soul,  of  the  body,  and  what  are  called  external  goods,  all  of 
which  are  the  gifts  of  God.  Than  these  three  sorts  of  satis 
faction,  nothing  can  be  more  effectual  in  eradicating  sin  from 
the  soul.  Whatever  is  in  the  world  is  the  lust  of  the  flesh,  the 
"  lust  of  the  eyes,  or  pride  of  life,"1  and  fasting,  alms-deeds, 
and  prayer  are,  it  is  obvious,  most  judiciously  employed  as  an 
tidotes  to  neutralize  the  operation  of  these  three  causes  of  spirit 
ual  disease  ;  to  the  first  is  opposed  fasting  ;  to  the  second,  alms- 
deeds  ;  to  the  third,  prayer.  If,  moreover,  we  consider  those 
whom  our  sins  injure,  we  shall  easily  perceive  why  all  satisfac 
tion  is  referred  principally  to  God,  to  our  neighbour,  and  to  our 
selves  ;  God  we  appease  by  prayer,  our  neighbour  we  sa 
tisfy  by  alms,  and  ourselves  we  chastise  by  fasting. 

But,  as  this  life  is  checkered  by  many  and  various  afflictions, 
the  faithful  are  to  be  particularly  reminded,  that  afflictions  coming 
from  the  hand  of  God,  if  borne  with  patience,  are  an  abundant 
source  of  satisfaction  and  of  merit ;  but,  if  borne  with  reluctant 
impatience,  far  from  being  the  means  of  atoning  for  past  sins, 
they  are  rather  the  instruments  of  the  divine  wrath,  taking  just 
vengeance  on  the  sinner. 

But  in  this  the  mercy  and  goodness  of  God  shine  conspi 
cuous,  and  demand  our  grateful  acknowledgments,  that  he  has 
granted  to  our  frailty  the  privilege  that  one  may  satisfy  for  an 
other.  This,  however,  is  a  privilege  which  is  confined  to  the 
satisfactory  part  of  penance  alone,  and  extends  not  to  contrition 
and  confession  :  no  man  can  be  contrite  or  confess  for  another ; 
whilst  those  who  are  gifted  with  divine  grace  may  pay  through 
others  what  is  due  to  the  divine  justice,  and  thus  we  may  be 
said  in  some  measure  to  bear  each  other's  burdens.3  This  is  a 
doctrine  on  which  the  faithful  cannot  for  a  moment  entertain  a 
doubt,  professing,  as  we  do,  in  the  Apostle's  Creed,  our  belief 
in  the  "  Communion  of  Saints."  Regenerated,  as  we  all  are, 
to  Christ  in  the  same  cleansing  waters  of  baptism,  partakers  of 
the  same  sacraments,  and,  above  all,  of  the  same  heavenly  food, 
the  body  and  blood  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  we  are  all,  it  is 
manifest,  members  of  the  same  mystical  body.  As  then  the 
foot  does  not  perform  its  functions  solely  for  itself,  but  also  for 
sake  of  the  other  members,  and  as  the  other  members  perform 
their  respective  functions,  not  only  for  their  own,  but  also  for 
the  common  good ;  so  works  of  satisfaction  are  common  to  all 
the  members  of  the  Church.  This,  however,  is  not  universally 
true  in  reference  to  all  the  advantages  to  be  derived  from  works 
of  satisfaction  :  of  these  works  some  are  also  medicinal,  and 
are  so  many  specific  remedies  prescribed  to  the  penitent,  to  heal 

1  John  ii.  16. 

2  Gal.  vi.  2. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Penance.  205 

the  depraved  affections  of  the  heart;  a  fruit  which,  it  is  evident, 
they  alone  can  derive  from  them,  who  satisfy  for  themselves. 
Of  these  particulars  touching  the  three  parts  of  penance,  con 
trition,  confession,  and  satisfaction,  it  is  the  duty  of  the  pastor 
to  give  an  ample  and  clear  exposition. 

The  confessor,  however,  will  be  scrupulously  careful,  before  No  person 

he  absolves  the  penitent  whose  confession  he  has  heard,  to  in-  to  be  ab- 

.,.11,  .,          ,.,       .        ..         i  t*          •   i      solved,  un- 

sist  that  ii  he  has  been  really  guilty  ot  having  injured  his  neigh-  til  he  has 

hour  in  property  or  character,  he  make  reparation  for  the  injury :  promised 
no  person  is  to  be  absolved  until  he  has  first  faithfully  promised  to'^™;/ 
to  repair  fully  the  injury  done ;  and,  as  there  are  many  who,  the  injury 
although  free  to  make  large  promises  to  comply  with  their  duty  done- 
in  this   respect,  are   yet  deliberately  determined  not  to  fulfil 
them,  they  should  be  obliged  to  make  restitution,  and  the  words 
of  the  Apostle  are  to  be  strongly  and  frequently  pressed  upon 
upon  their  minds :  "  He  that  stole,,  let  him  now  steal  no  more  ; 
but  rather  let  him  labour  working  with   his   hands   the  thing 
which  is  good,  that  he  may  have  something  to  give  to  him  that 
suflereth  need."1 

But,  in  imposing  penance,  the  confessor  will  do  nothing  ar-  Penance 
bitrarily  ;  he  will  be  guided  solely  by  justice,   prudence,  and  |^w  l°d 
piety  ;  and  in  order  to  follow  this  rule,  and  also  to  impress  more 
deeply  on  the  mind  of  the  penitent  the  enormity  of  sin,  he  will 
find  it  expedient  to  remind  him  of  the  severe  punishments  in 
flicted  by  the  ancient  penitential  canons,  as  they  are  called,  for 
certain  sins.     The  nature  of  the  sin,  therefore,   will  regulate 
the  extent  of  the  satisfaction  :  but  no  satisfaction  can  be  more 
salutary  than  to  require  of  the  penitent  to  devote,  for  a  certain 
number  of  days,  a  certain  portion  of  time  to  prayer,  not  omit 
ting  to  supplicate  the  divine  mercy  in  behalf  of  all   mankind, 
and   particularly  for  those  who  have  departed  this  life  in  the 
Lord.     Penitents  should,  also,  be  exhorted  to  undertake  of  their 
own  accord,  the  frequent  performance  of  the  penances  usually 
imposed  by  the  confessor,  and  so  to  order  the  tenor  of  their  fu 
ture  lives  that,  having  faithfully  complied  with  every  thing  which 
the  sacrament  of  Penance  demands,  they  may  never  cease  stu 
diously  to   practise  the  virtue  of  penance.     But,  should   it  be  Public 
deemed  proper  sometimes  to  visit  public  crimes  with  public  pe-  crimes  to 
nance,  and  should  the  penitent  express  great  reluctance  to  submit  vJjth'pub- 
to  its  performance,  his  importunity  is  not  to  be  readily  yielded  He  pe- 
to  :  he  should  be  persuaded  to  embrace  with  cheerfulness  that  nance- 
which  is  so  salutary  to  himself  and  to  others.     These  things, 
which  regard  the  sacrament  of  Penance  and  its  several  parts, 
the  pastor  will  teach  in  such  a  manner  as  to  enable  the  faithful 
not  only  to   understand    them   perfectly,   but,  also,  with  the 
Divine  assistance,  piously  and  religiously  to  reduce   them  to 

'  Ephes.  iv.  28. 

206  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 


ThisSacra-      "  IN  all  thy  works,"  says  Ecclesiasticus,  "  remember   thy 

n^ent,, ,       last  end,  and  thou  shalt  never  sin  ;"*  words  which  convey  to 
should  be       .  .....  .  '* 

the  subject  the  pastor  a  silent  admonition,  to  omit  no  opportunity  of  exhort- 

of  frequent  ing  the  faithful  to  constant  meditation  on  their  last  end.     The 
lon>  sacrament  of  Extreme  Unction,  because  inseparably  associated 
.  with  this  awful  recollection,  should,  it  is  obvious,  form  a  sub 
ject  of  frequent  instruction,  not  only  inasmuch  as  it  is  eminently 
useful  to  develope  the  mysteries  of  salvation,  but  also  because 
death,  the  inevitable  doom  of  all  men,  when  frequently  recalled 
to  the  minds  of  the  faithful,  represses  the  licentiousness  of  de 
praved  passion.     Thus  shall  they  be  less  appalled  by  the  ter 
rors  of  approaching  dissolution,  and  will  pour  forth  their  gra 
titude  in  endless  praises  to  God,  whose  goodness  has  not  only 
opened  to  us  the  way  to  true  life  in  the  sacrament  of  Baptism, 
but  has  also  instituted  that  of  Extreme  Unction,  to   afford  us, 
when  departing  this  mortal  life,  an  easier  access  to  heaven. 
ThisSacra-      In  order,  therefore,  to  follow,  in  a  great  measure,  the  same 
ment  why   order  observed  in  the  exposition  of  the  other  sacraments,  we 
trcme  Unc-  wi^  ^rst  s^ow  that  this  sacrament  is  called  "  Extreme  Unction," 
tioii.  because  amongst  the  other  unctions  prescribed  by  our  Lord  to 

his  Church,  this  is  the  last  to  be  administered.  It  was  hence 
called  by  our  predecessors  in  the  faith,  "  the  sacrament  of  the 
anointing  of  the  sick,"  and  also,  "  the  sacrament  of  dying  per 
sons,"  names  which  naturally  lead  the  minds  of  the  faithful  to 
the  remembrance  of  that  last  awful  hour.3 

Proved  to        That  Extreme  Unction  is,  strictly  speaking,  a  sacrament,  is 
a  Sacra-  fjrst  to  j-,e  explained ;  and  this  the  words  of  St.  James,  promul- 
1.         gating  the  law  of  this  sacrament,  clearly  establish :  "  Is  any 
man,"  says  he,   "  sick  amongst   you  ?     Let  him  bring  in  the 
priests  of  the  Church,  and  let  them  pray  over  him,  anointing 
him  with  oil  in  the  name  of  the  Lord :  and  the  prayer  of  faith 
shall  save  the  sick  man ;  and  the  Lord  shall  raise  him  up ;  and 
if  he    be    in   sins,  they  shall   be  forgiven  him."3     When  the 
Apostle  says :  "  if  he  be  in  sins,  they  shall  be  forgiven  him," 
he  ascribes  to  Extreme  Unction,  at  once  the  nature  and  efficacy 
II         of  a  sacrament.     That  such  has  been  at  all  times  the  doctrine 
of  the  Catholic  Church,  many  Councils  testify,  and  the  Coun 
cil  of  Trent  denounces  anathema  against  all  who  presume  to 
teach   or  think  otherwise.4     Innocent  III.,  also,   recommends 
this  sacrament  with  great  earnestness  to  the  attention  of  the 
Note.          faithful.5     The  pastor,  therefore,  will  teach  that  extreme  Unc- 

1  Eccles.  vii.  40. 

3  Vid.  Hugon.  de  Sacr.  part.  15.  c.  2.  Pet.  Dam.  serm.  1.  de  dedicat.  Eccles. 
3  James  v.  14.  4  Sess.  43.  de  Extreni.  Unc.  c.  1.  et  can.  3. 

s  Innoc.  ep.  1.  ad  Decent,  c.  8.  et  citatur  dist.  95.  c.  illud  superfluum:  .ter» 
Cone.  Cabilon.  c.  48  Wormacience  c.  72.  Constan.  et  Floren. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Extreme  Unction.  207 

tion  is  a  true  sacrament,  and  that,  although  administered  with 
many  unctions,  performed  each  with  a  peculiar  prayer,  and  un 
der  a  peculiar  form,  it  constitutes  but  one  sacrament — one,  not 
by  the  inseparable  continuity  of  its  parts,  but,  like  every  thing 
composed  of  parts,  by  the  perfection  of  the  whole.  As  an  edi 
fice  which  consists  of  a  great  variety  of  parts,  derives  its  per 
fection  from  one  form,  so  is  this  sacrament,  although  composed 
of  many  and  different  things,  but  one  sign,  and  its  efficacy  is 
that  of  one  thing  of  which  it  is  the  sign. 

The  pastor  will  also  teach  what  are  the  component  parts  of  Its  matter 
this  Sacrament,  its  matter  and  form  :  these  St.  James  does  not 
omit,  and  each  is  replete  with  its  own  peculiar  mysteries.1  Its 
element,  then,  or  matter,  as  defined  by  many  Councils,  particu 
larly  by  the  Council  of  Trent,  consists  of  oil  of  olives,  conse 
crated  by  episcopal  hands.  No  other  sort  of  oil  can  be  the  mat 
ter  of  this  Sacrament ;  and  this  its  matter  is  most  significant  of 
its  efficacy.  Oil  is  very  efficacious  in  soothing  bodily  pain, 
and  this  Sacrament  sooths  and  alleviates  the  pain  and  anguish 
of  the  soul.  Oil  also  contributes  to  restore  health  and  spirits, 
serves  to  give  light,  and  refreshes  fatigue  ;  and  these  effects  cor 
respond  with  and  are  expressive  of  those  produced,  through 
the  divine  power,  on  the  sick,  by  the  administration  of  this  Sa 
crament.  These  few  words  will  suffice  in  explanation  of  the 

With  regard  to  the  form,  it  consists  of  the  following  words,  ns  form, 
which  contain  a  solemn  prayer,  and  are  used  at  each  anointing, 
according  to  the  sense  to  which  the  unction  is  applied  :  "  BY 
SMELL,  TOUCH,  &c.  &c."  That  this  is  the  true  form  of  this  Sa 
crament,  we  learn  from  these  words  of  St.  James  :  "  Let  them 
pray  over  him,  and  the  prayer  of  faith  shall  save  the  sick 
man  ;"3  words  which  intimate  that  the  form  is  to  be  applied  by 
way  of  prayer,  although  the  Apostle  does  not  say  of  what  par 
ticular  words  that  prayer  is  to  consist.  But  this  form  has  been 
handed  down  to  us  by  apostolic  tradition,  and  is  universally  re 
tained,  as  observed  by  the  Church  of  Rome,  the  mother  and 
mistress  of  all  churches.  Some,  it  is  true,  alter  a  few  words, 
as  when  for  "  God  indulge  thee,"  they  say,  "  God  remit,"  or 
"  spare,"  and  sometimes,  "  heal  whatever  thou  hast  committed  ;" 
but  the  sense  is  evidently  the  same,  and,  of  course,  the  form 
observed  by  all  is  strictly  the  same.  Nor  should  it  excite  our  Expressed 
surprise  that,  whilst  the  form  of  each  of  the  other  Sacraments  b^™ 
either  absolutely  signifies  what  it  expresses,  such  as,  "  I  baptise  why. 
thee,"  or  "  I  sign  thee  with  the  sign  of  the  cross,"  or  is  pro 
nounced,  as  it  were,  by  way  of  a  command,  as  in  administering 
Holy  Orders,  "  Receive  power,"  the  form  of  Extreme  Unction 
alone  is  expressed  by  way  of  prayer.  The  propriety  of  this 
difference  will  at  once  appear,  if  we  reflect,  that  this  Sacrament 

i  James  v.  14.  2  James  v.  11.  15. 

208  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

is  administered  not  only  for  the  health  of  the  soul,  but  also  for 
that  of  the  body ;  and  as  it  does  not  please  Divine  Providence, 
at  all  times,  to  restore  health  to  the  sick,  the  form  consists  of  a 
prayer,  by  which  we  beg  of  the  divine  bounty  that  which  is  not 
a  constant  and  uniform  effect  of  the  Sacrament. 

Adminis-         In  the  administration  of  this  Sacrament,  peculiar  rites  are  also 

tration  of     used  ;  but  they  consist  principally  of  prayers,   offered  by  the 

iJent,  why  priest  for  the  recovery  of  the  sick  person.     There  is  no  Sacra- 

accompa-     ment  the  administration  of  which  is  accompanied  with  more 

ied  with     numerous  prayers  ;  and  with  good  reason,  for  then,  in  a  special 

ers.  manner,   the   faithful  require  the   assistance  of  pious  prayers 

Not  only  the  pastor,  in  the  first  place,  but,  also,  all  who  may  be 

present,  should  pour  out  their  fervent  aspirations  to  the  throne 

of  grace,  in  behalf  of  the  sick  person,  earnestly  recommending 

him,  soul  and  body,  to  the  divine  mercy. 

ThisSa-  Having  thus  shown  that  Extreme  Unction  is  to  be  numbered 

crament  amongst  the  Sacraments,  we  infer,  and  the  inference  is  just, 
by* Christ.  lnat  ^  owes  its  institution  to  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  was 
subsequently  made  known  and  promulgated  to  the  faithful,  by 
the  Apostle  St.  James.  Our  Lord  himself,  would,  however, 
seem  to  have  given  some  indication  of  it,  when  he  sent  his  dis 
ciples,  two  and  two,  before  him  ;  for  the  Evangelist  informs  us 
that  "  going  forth,  they  preached  that  all  should  do  penance  ; 
and  they  cast  out  many  devils,  and  anointed  with  oil  many 
Note.  who  were  sick,  and  healed  them."1  This  anointing  cannot  be 
supposed  to  have  been  invented  by  the  Apostles  :  it  was  com 
manded  by  our  Lord.  Nor  did  its  efficacy  arise  from  any  na 
tural  virtue  peculiar  to  oil ;  its  efficacy  is  mystical,  having  been 
instituted  to  heal  the  maladies  of  the  soul,  rather  than  to  cure 
the  diseases  of  the  body.  This  is  the  doctrine  taught  by  the 
Fathers  of  the  Church,  by  the  Denises,  the  Ambroses,  the 
Chrysostomes,  by  Gregory  the  Great ;  and  Extreme  Unction  is 
to  be  recognised  and  venerated  as  one  of  the  Sacraments  of  the 
Catholic  Church. 

Extreme          But  although  instituted  for  the  use  of  all,  Extreme  Unction  is 
rt.on,  to  not  to  be  administered  indiscriminately  to  all.    In  the  first  place, 
when  to  be  ^  *s  not  to  ^e  administered  to  persons  in  sound  health,  accord- 
.•ulminis-      ing  to  these  words  of  St.  James  :     "  Is  any  one  sick  amongst 
you  ?"a  and,  as  reason  also  proves,  it  was  instituted  as  a  remedy 
not  only  for  the  diseases  of  the  soul,  but  also  for  those  of  the 
body :  this  can  apply  to  the  sick  only,  and  therefore,  this  Sa 
crament  is  to  be  administered  to  those  only,  whose  malady  is 
such  as  to  excite  apprehensions  of  approaching  dissolution.     It 
is,  however,  a  very  grievous  sin  to  defer  the  Holy  Unction 
until,  all  hope  of  recovery  now  lost,  life  begins  to  ebb,  and  the 
sick  person  is  fast  verging  into  a  state  of  insensibility.     It  is 
obvious  that   if  administered  whilst  the  mental  faculties  are  yet 
unimpaired,  whilst  reason  still  exercises  her  dominion,  and  the 
mind  is  capable  eliciting  acts  of  faith,  and  of  directing  the  will 

1  Markvi.  12, 13.  »  James  v.  14 

On  the,  Sacrament  of  Extreme  Unction. 

to  sentiments  of  piety,  the  Sacrament  must  contribute  to  a  more 
abundant  participation  of  the  graces  which  it  imparts.  This 
heavenly  medicine,  therefore,  in  itself  at  all  times  salutary,  the 
pastor  will  be  careful  to  apply,  when  its  efficacy  can  be  aided 
by  the  piety  and  devotion  of  the  sick  person.  Extreme  Unc 
tion,  then,  can  be  administered  only  to  the  sick,  and  not  to  per 
sons  in  health,  although  engaged  in  any  thing  however  danger 
ous,  such  as  a  perilous  voyage,  or  the  fatal  dangers  of  battle. 
It  cannot  be  administered  even  to  persons  condemned  to  death, 
and  already  ordered  for  execution.  Its  participation  is  also  de 
nied  to  insane  persons,  and  to  children  incapable  of  committing 
sin,  who,  therefore,  do  not  require  to  be  purified  from  its  stains, 
and  also  to  those  who  labour  under  the  awful  visitation  of  mad 
ness,  unless  they  give  indications,  in  their  lucid  intervals,  of  a 
disposition  to  piety,  and  express  a  desire  to  be  anointed.  To 
persons  insane  from  their  birth,  this  Sacrament  is  not  to  be  ad 
ministered;  but  if  a  sick  person,  whilst  in  the  possession  of  his 
faculties,  expressed  a  wish  to  receive  Extreme  Unction,  and 
afterwards  becomes  delirious,  he  is  to  be  anointed. 

The  Sacred  Unction  is  to  be  applied  not  to  the  entire  body,  How  to  he 
but  to  the  organs  of  sense  only — to  the  eyes  the  organs  of  sight, 
to  the  ears  of  hearing,  to  the  nostrils  of  smelling,  to  the  mouth 
of  taste  and  speech,  to  the  hands  of  touch.  The  sense  of  touch, 
it  is  true,  is  diffused  throughout  the  entire  body,  yet  the  hands 
are  its  peculiar  seat.  This  manner  of  administering  Extreme 
Unction  is  observed  throughout  the  universal  Church,  and  ac 
cords  with  the  medicinal  nature  of  this  Sacrament.  As  in  cor 
poral  disease,  although  it  affects  the  entire  body,  yet  the  cure 
is  applied  to  that  part  only  which  is  the  seat  of  the  disease,  so 
in  spiritual  malady,  this  Sacrament  is  applied  not  to  the  entire 
body,  but  to  those  members  which  are  properly  the  organs  of 
sense,  and  also  to  the  loins,  which  are,  as  it  were,  the  seat  of 
concupiscence,  and  to  the  feet,  by  which  we  move  from  one 
place  to  another. 

Here  it  is  to  be  observed,  that,  during  the  same  illness,  and  It  may  i>e 
whilst  the  danger  of  dying  continues  the  same,  the  sick  person  ^(f  ^hen 
is  to  be  anointed  but  once  ;  should  he,  however,  recover  after  he 
has  been  anointed,  he  may  receive  the  aid  of  this  Sacrament, 
as  often  as  he  shall  have  relapsed  into  the  same  danger.     This 
Sacrament,  therefore,  is  evidently  to  be  numbered  amongst  those 
which  may  be  repeated. 

But  as  every  obstacle  which  may  impede  its  efficacy  should  Prepara- 
be  removed  with  the  greatest  care,  and  as  nothing  is  more  op-  l™j*.f*  [° 
posed  to  it  than  a  state  of  mortal  guilt,  the  pastor  will  follow  the  worthily, 
uniform  practice  of  the  Catholic  Church,  and  not   administer 
Extreme  Unction,  until  the  penitent  has  confessed  and  received. 
He  will  then  earnestly  exhort  the  sick  person,  to  receive  this 
Sacrament  with  the  same  sentiments  of  faith  which  animated 
the  primitive  Christians,  who  presented  themselves  to  the  Apos 
tles  to  be  healed  by  them.     The  health  of  the  soul  is  to  be  the 
first  object  of  the  sick  man's  prayers,  the  second,  that  of  the 
18*  2  D 

210  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

body,  should  it  tend  to  his  eternal  interests.  The  faithful  should 
be  convinced,  that  the  solemn  and  holy  prayers,  which  are 
offered  by  the  priest,  not  in  his  own  name,  but  in  that  of  the 
Church  and  of  its  divine  Founder,  are  heard  by  Almighty  God  ; 
and  they  cannot  be  too  earnestly  exhorted,  to  be  careful  to  ac- 
company-the  administration  of  the  Sacrament,  with  all  the  sanc 
tity  and  religious  fervour  that  become  that  awful  hour,  when  the 
dying  Christian  is  about  to  engage  in  the  last  conflict,  and  the 
energies  of  the  mind  as  well  as  of  the  body  seem  to  be  enfee 

The  minis-  With  regard  to  the  minister  of  Extreme  Unction,  this  too  we 
Sacrament  ^earn  ^rom  ^  James,  when  he  says :  "  Let  him  bring  in  the 
priests  r"1  by  the  word  "priests,"  as  the  Council  of  Trent  has 
defined,3  he  does  not  mean  elders  or  persons  advanced  in  years, 
or  of  elevated  rank,  but  priests  duly  ordained  by  bishops  with 
the  imposition  of  hands.  The  administration  of  this  Sacrament, 
therefore,  is  committed  to  priests,  not  however  to  every  priest, 
in  accordance  with  the  decree  of  the  Church  ;  but  to  the  proper 
priest,  who  has  jurisdiction,  or  to  another  authorized  by  him. 
Note.  In  this,  as  in  the  other  Sacraments,  it  is  also  to  be  distinctly 
recollected,  that  the  priest  is  the  representative  of  Jesus  Christ 
and  of  his  Church. 

Itsadvan-        The  advantages,  which  flow  from  this  Sacrament,  are  also  to 

tages-          be  explained  more  minutely,  that  if  the  sick  are  influenced  by 

no  other  consideration,  they  may,  at  least,  yield  to  this,  for  we 

I.  are  disposed  to  measure  every  thing  by  its  utility.    The  pastor, 
therefore,  will  teach,  that  the  grace  of  this  Sacrament  remits  sins, 
especially  lighter  offences,  or,  as  they  are  commonly  called,  venial 
sins.     Its  primary  object  is  not  to  remit  mortal  sins.     For  this 
the  Sacrament  of  penance  was  instituted,  as  was  that  of  baptism 

II.  for  the  remission  of  original  sin.     Another  advantage  arising 
from  Extreme  Unction  is,  that  it  removes  the  languor  and  in 
firmity  entailed  by  sin,  with  all  its  other  inconveniences.     The 
time  most  seasonable  for  the  application  of  this  cure  is,  when 
we  are  visited  by  some  severe  malady,  which  threatens  to  prove 
fatal ;  for  nature  dreads  no  earthly  visitation  so  much  as  death, 
and  this  dread  is  considerably  augmented  by  the  recollection  of 
our  past  sins,  particularly  if  the  mind  is   harrowed  up  by  the 
poignant  reproaches  of  conscience  ;  as  it  is  written  :     "  They 
shall  come  with  fear  at  the  thought  of  their  sins,  and  their  ini 
quities  shall  stand  against  them  to  convict  them."3     A  source 
of  alarm  still  more  distressing  is  the  awful  reflection,  that,  in  a 
few  moments,  we  shall  stand  before  the  judgment-seat  of  God, 
whose  justice  will  award  that  sentence,  which  our  lives  may 
have  deserved.     The   terror  inspired  by  these  considerations 
frequently  agitates  the  soul  with  the  most  awful  apprehensions  ; 
and  to  calm  this  terror  nothing  can  be  so  efficacious  as  the  Sa 
crament  of  Extreme  Unction.     It  quiets  our  fear,  illumines  the 
gloom  in  which  the  soul  is  enveloped,  fills  it  with  pious  and 

'  James  v.  14.  2  Sess.  14,  c.  3.  3  Wisdom  iv.  20 

On  the,  Sacrament  of  Orders.  21 1 

holy  joy,  and  enables  us  to  wait  with  cheerfulness  the  coming 
of  the  Lord,  prepared  to  yield  up  all  that  we  have  received  from 
his  bounty,  whenever  he  is  pleased  to  summon  us  from  this 
world  of  wo.  Another,  and  the  most  important  advantage  de-  IV- 
rived  from  Extreme  Unction,  is,  that  it  fortifies  us  against  the 
violent  assaults  of  Satan.  The  enemy  of  mankind  never  ceases 
to  seek  our  ruin  :  but  to  complete  our  destruction,  and,  if  possi 
ble,  deprive  us  of  all  hope  of  mercy,  he  more  than  ever  increases 
his  efforts,  when  he  sees  us  approach  our  last  end.  This  Sa 
crament,  therefore,  arms  and  strengthens  the  faithful  against  the 
violence  of  his  assaults,  and  enables  them  to  fight  resolutely  and 
successfully  against  him.  Tranquillized  and  encouraged  by  the 
hope  of  the  divine  mercy,  the  soul  bears  up  with  fortitude 
against  every  difficulty,  experiences  an  alleviation  of  the  burden 
of  sickness,  and  eludes  with  greater  ease,  the  artifice  and  cun 
ning  of  the  enemy,  who  lies  in  wait  for  her.  Finally,  the  re-  V 
covery  of  health,  if  advantageous  to  the  sick  person,  is  another 
effect  of  this  Sacrament.  However,  should  this  effect  not  follow, 
it  arises  not  from  any  defect  in  the  Sacrament,  but  from  weak 
ness  of  faith  on  the  part  of  him  by  whom  it  is  received,  or  of 
him  by  whom  it  is  administered  ;  for  the  Evangelist  informs  us, 
that  our  Lord  wrought  not  many  miracles  amongst  his  country 
men,  because  of  their  incredulity.1  It  may,  however,  be  pro-  Note, 
per  to  observe,  that  Christianity,  now  that  it  has  taken  deep 
root  in  the  minds  of  men,  stands  less  in  need  of  the  aid  of  such 
miracles  in  our  days,  than  in  the  early  ages  of  the  Church. 
Nevertheless,  our  faith  is  here  to  be  strongly  excited,  and  what 
ever  it  may  please  God  in  his  wisdom  to  do  with  regard  to  the 
health  of  the  body,  the  faithful  should  be  animated  with  an  as 
sured  hope  of  receiving  from  it  spiritual  health  and  strength, 
and  of  experiencing,  at  the  hour  of  their  dissolution,  the  truth 
of  these  consoling  words  :  "  Blessed  are  the  dead  who  die  in 
the  Lord."3 

We  have  thus  briefly  explained  the  sacrament  of  Extreme 
Unction.  If  the  heads  of  the  matter  be  developed  by  the  pas 
tor  more  at  large,  with  the  diligence  which  their  importance  de 
mands,  the  faithful,  no  doubt,  will  derive  from  their  exposition 
abundant  fruit  of  piety. 


FROM  an  attentive  consideration  of  the  nature  of  the  other  The  Sacra- 
Sacraments  we  shall  find  little  difficulty  in  perceiving,  that,  so  ment°f 
dependent  are  they  all  on  that  of  orders,  that  without  its  inter-  why  to'  be 
vention  some  could  not  exist,  or  be  administered,  whilst  others  explained 

1  Matt.  xiii.  58.  2  Apoc.  xiv.  13. 

212  The.  Catechism  of  the  Cc  until  of  Trent. 

to  the  pco-  «nould  be  stripped  of  the  religious  rites  and  solemn  ceremonies 
ind  of  that  exterior  respect  which  should  accompany  their  ad 
ministration.  The  pastor,  therefore,  following  up  his  exposi 
tion  of  the  sacraments,  will  deem  it  a  duty  to  bestow,  also,  o» 
the  Sacrament  of  Orders,  an  attention  proportioned  to  its  im- 
..  portance.  This  exposition  cannot  fail  to  prove  salutary,  in  the 
first  place,  to  the  pastor  himself,  in  the  next  place,  to  those  who 
may  have  embraced  the  ecclesiastical  state,  and  finally  to  the 
faithful  at  large — to  the  pastor  himself,  because,  whilst  explain 
ing  this  Sacrament  to  others,  he  himself  is  excited  to  stir  up 
within  him  the  grace  which  he  received  at  his  ordination — to 

II.  others  whom  the  Lord  has  called  to  his  sanctuary,  by  inspiring 
them  with  the  same  love  of  piety,  and  imparting  to  them  a 
knowledge  of  those  things  which  will  quality  them  the  more 

III.  easily  to  advance  to  higher  orders — to  the  faithful  at  large,  by 
making  known  to  them  the  respect  due  to  the  ministers  of  reli- 

IV.  gion.     It  also  not  unfrequently  occurs,  that,  amongst  the  faith 
ful  there  are  many  who  intend  their  children  for  the  ministry 
whilst  yet  young,  and  some  who  are  themselves  candidates  for 
that  holy  state ;  and  it  is  proper  that  such  persons  should  not 
be  entirely  unacquainted  with  its  nature  and  obligations.1 

Dignity  of  The  faithful  then  are  to  be  made  acquainted  with  the  exalted 
dignity  and  excellence  of  this  sacrament  in  its  highest  degree, 
which  is  the  priesthood.  Priests  and  bishops  are,  as  it  were, 
the  interpreters  and  heralds  of  God,  commissioned  in  his  name 
to  teach  mankind  the  law  of  God,  and  the  precepts  of  a  Chris 
tian  life — they  are  the  representatives  of  God  upon  earth.  Im 
possible,  theiefore,  to  conceive  a  more  exalted  dignity,  or  func 
tions  more  sacred.  Justly,  therefore,  are  they  called  not  only 
angels,3  but  gods,3  holding,  as  they  do,  the  place  and  power 
and  authority  of  God  on  earth.  But  the  priesthood,  at  all 
times  an  elevated  office,  transcends  in  the  New  Law  all  others 
in  dignity.  The  power  of  consecrating  and  offering  the  body 
and  blood  of  our  Lord  and  of  remitting  sin,  with  which  the 
priesthood  of  the  New  Law  is  invested,  is  such  as  cannot  be 
comprehended  by  the  human  mind,  still  less  is  it  equalled  by, 
or  assimilated  to,  any  thing  on  earth.  Again,  as  Christ  was 
sent  by  the  Father,4  the  Apostles  and  Disciples  by  Christ,5 
even  so  are  priests  invested  with  the  same  power,  and  sent  "  for 
the  perfecting  of  the  saints,  for  the  work  of  the  ministry,  and 
the  edification  of  the  body  of  Christ."8 

Those  who      This  office,  therefore,  is  not  to  be  rashly  imposed  on  any 
are  to  re-     one  :  to  those  only  it  is  to  be  intrusted,  who,  by  the  sanctity 

1  Qui  special  ad  mores  eorum  qui  in  aliquo  ordine  ecclesiaslico  sunt,  videndum 
esl,  immo  sciendum  Cone.  Trid.  in  posleriore  parte  cujusque  sessionis,  quae  esl  de 
reformatione  ;  quod  vero  altinet  a  ordinem  ut  est  sacramentum,  vide  idem  Cone, 
sess.  13.  el  de  singulis  ordmationibus  vide  Cone.  Carlhag.  IV.  sub  Anastasio  Ponti- 
fice.  anno  398. 

2  Mai.  ii.  7.  3  Ps.  Ixxxi.  6.  <  John  viii.  36.  *  Matt,  xxvni.  19. 

6  Ephes.  iv.  12.— De  sacerdotii  dignitate  vide  Ignat.  epist  ad  Smyrn.  Amb.  lib. 
5.  epist  32.  et  lib.  10.  ep.  82.  Chrysost.  horn.  60.  ad  pop.  Antioch,  et  in  Mall,  horn- 
83.  Wazian.  oral.  17.  ad  suos  cives. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  213 

of  their  lives,  by  their  knowledge,  their  faith,  and  their  pru-  ceive  Or- 
dence,  are  capable  of  sustaining  its  weight :  "  Nor  let  any  one  ^Ji^1. 
take  this  honour  to  himself,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  but  he  that  is  their  view's 
called  by  God  as  Aaron  was."1  This  call  from  God  we  recog-  anddispo- 
nise,  in  that  of  the  lawful  ministers  of  his  Church.  Of  those,  S1 
who  would  arrogantly  obtrude  themselves  into  the  sanctuary, 
the  Lord  has  said :  "  I  sent  not  the  prophets,  and  yet  they  ran  :"a 
such  sacrilegious  intruders  bring  the  greatest  misery  on  them 
selves,  and  the  heaviest  calamities  on  the  Church  of  God.3  But 
as  in  every  undertaking  the  end  proposed  is  of  the  highest  im 
portance,  (when  the  end  is  good,  every  thing  proceeds  well) 
the  candidate  for  the  ministry  should  first  of  all  be  admonished 
to  propose  to  himself  no  motive  unworthy  of  so  exalted  a  sta 
tion  ;  an  admonition  which  demands  particular  attention  in  these 
our  days,  when  the  faithful  are  but  too  unmindful  of  its  spirit: 
there  are  those  who  aspire  to  the  priesthood  with  a  view  to 
secure  to  themselves  a  livelihood,  who,  like  worldlings  in  mat 
ters  of  trade  or  commerce,  look  to  nothing  but  sordid  £elf. 
True,  the  natural  and  divine  law  command,  that  to  use  the 
words  of  the  Apostle,  "  he  that  serves  the  altar,  should  live  by 
the  altar;"4  but  to  approach  the  altar  for  gain,  this  indeed  were 
a  sacrilege  of  the  blackest  die.  Others  there  are  whom  a  love 
of  honours,  and  a  spirit  of  ambition  conduct  to  the  altar  ;  others 
whom  the  gold  of  the  sanctuary  attracts  ;  and  of  this  we  require 
no  other  proof  than  that  they  have  no  idea  of  embracing  the 
ecclesiastical  state  unless  preferred  to  some  rich  ecclesiastical 
benefice.  These  are  they  whom  the  Lord  denounces  as  "  hire 
lings,"5  who,  to  use  the  words  of  Ezekiel,  "  feed  themselves, 
and  not  the  sheep."8  Their  turpitude  and  profligacy  have  not 
only  tarnished  the  lustre  and  degraded  the  dignity  of  the  sacer 
dotal  character  in  the  eyes  of  the  faithful,  but  the  priesthood 
brings  to  them  in  its  train  the  same  rewards  which  the  Apostle- 
ship  brought  to  Judas — eternal  perdition. 

But  they  who,  in  obedience  to  the  legitimate  call  of  God,  un 
dertake  the  priestly  office,  solely  with  a  view  to  promote  his 
glory,  are  truly  said  "  to  enter  by  the  door."  The  obligation 
of  promoting  his  glory  is  not  confined  to  them  alone  ;  for  this 
were  all  men  created — this  the  faithful  in  particular,  consecrated, 
as  they  have  been,  by  baptism  to  God,  should  promote  with 
their  whole  hearts,  their  whole  souls,  and  with  all  their  strength. 
Not  enough,  therefore,  that  the  candidate  for  holy  orders  propose 
to  himself  to  seek  in  all  things  the  glory  of  God,  a  duty  com 
mon  alike  to  all  men,  and  particularly  incumbent  on  the  faithful : 
he  must  also  be  resolved  to  serve  God  in  holiness  and  right 
eousness,  in  the  particular  sphere  in  which  his  ministry  is  to 
be  exercised.  As  in  an  army,  all  obey  the  command  of  the 
general,  whilst  amongst  them  some  hold  the  place  of  colonel, 
some  of  captain,  and  others,  stations  of  subordinate  rank :  so  in 

'  Heb.  v.  4.  2  Jerem.  xxiii.  21.  3  Vid.  dist,  23.  multis  in  capitibus. 

1  Cor.  ix.  13.          5  John  x.  12.  6  Ezek.  xxxiv.  1. 

The  power 
by  the  Sa 
crament  of 
two-fold,  of 
tion,  and  of 

of  this 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  Church,  whilst  all  without  distinction  should  be  earnest  in 
the  pursuit  of  piety  and  innocence,  the  principal  means  of  ren 
dering  homage  to  God ;  to  those,  however,  who  are  initiated  in 
the  Sacrament  of  Orders,  special  offices  belong,  on  them  special 
functions  devolve — to  offer  sacrifice  for  themselves,  and  for  all 
the  people — to  instruct  others  in  the  law  of  God — to  exhort  and 
form  them  to  a  faithful  and  ready  compliance  with  its  injunc 
tions — and  to  adminster  the  Sacraments,  the  sources  of  grace. 
In  a  word,  set  apart  from  the  rest  of  the  people,  they  are  en 
gaged  in  a  ministry  the  most  sacred  and  the  most  exalted. 

Having  explained  these  matters  to  the  faithful,  the  pastor  will 
next  proceed  to  expound  those  things  which  are  peculiar  to  this 
Sacrament,  that  thus  the  candidate  for  orders  may  be  enabled  to 
form  a  just  estimate  of  the  nature  of  the  office  to  which  he  as 
pires,  and  to  know  the  extent  of  the  power  conferred  by  Al 
mighty  God  on  his  Church  and  her  ministers.  This  power  is 
two-fold,  of  jurisdiction,  and  of  orders :  the  power  of  orders 
has  reference  to  the  body  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  the  Holy 
Eucharist,  that  of  jurisdiction  to  his  mystical  body,  the  Church; 
for  to  this  latter  belong  the  government  of  his  spiritual  kingdom 
on  earth,  and  the  direction  of  the  faithful  in  the  way  of  salva 
tion.  In  the  power  of  Orders  is  included  not  only  that  of  con 
secrating  the  Holy  Eucharist,  but  also  of  preparing  the  soul  for 
its  worthy  reception,  and  whatever  else  has  reference  to  the 
sacred  mysteries.  Of  this  the  Scriptures  afford  numerous  at 
testations,  amongst  which  the  most  striking  and  weighty  are 
contained  in  the  words  recorded  by  St.  John  and  St.  Matthew 
on  this  subject:  "As  the  Father  hath  sent  me,"  says  the  Re 
deemer,  "  I  send  you  :  Receive  ye  the  Holy  Ghost:  whose  sins 
you  shall  forgive,  they  are  forgiven  them,  and  whose  sins  you 
shall  retain,  they  are  retained  ;"*  and  again,  "  Amen,  I  say  unto 
you,  whatever  you  shall  bind  on  earth,  shall  be  bound  also  in 
heaven ;  and  whatever  you  shall  loose  on  earth,  shall  be  loosed 
also  in  heaven."3  These  passages,  if  expounded  by  the  pastor 
from  the  doctrine,  and  on  the  authority  of  the  Fathers,  will  shed 
considerable  light  on  this  important  subject. 

This  power  far  transcends  that  which  was  given  to  those, 
who,  under  the  law  of  nature,  exercised  a  special  superintend 
ence  over  sacred  things.3  The  age  anterior  to  the  written  law 
must  have  had  its  priesthood,  a  priesthood  invested  with  spirit 
ual  power:  that  it  had  a  law  cannot  be  questioned  :  and  so  in 
timately  interwoven  are  these  two  things  with  one  another,  that, 
take  away  one,  you  of  necessity  remove  the  other.4  As  then, 
prompted  by  the  dictate  of  the  instinctive  feelings  of  his  nature, 
man  recognises  the  worship  of  God  as  a  duty,  it  follows  as  a 
necessary  consequence,  that,  under  every  form  of  government, 
some  persons  must  have  been  constituted  the  official  guardians 

l  John  xx.  2],  22,  23.  2  Matt,  xviii.  18. 

s  Vid.  de  consecr.  dist.  2.  cap.  nihil  in  sacrificiis,  Cone.  Trid.  sess.  22.  cap.  1.  Iren. 
lio.  4.  c.  34.  Aug.  lib.  19.  de  civil.  Dei,  cap.  23. 
<  Heb.  vii.  12. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  215 

of  sacred  things,  the  legitimate  ministers  of  the  divine  worship; 
and  of  such  persons  the  power  might,  in  a  certain  sense,  be 
(sailed  spiritual. 

With  this  power  the  priesthood  of  the  Old  Law  was  also  in 
vested  ;  but,  although  superior  in  dignity  to  that  exercised  un 
der  the  law  of  nature,  it  was  far  inferior  to  the  spiritual  power 
enjoyed  under  the  Gospel  dispensation.  The  power,  with 
which  the  Christian  priesthood  is  clothed,  is  a  heavenly  power, 
raised  above  that  of  angels  :  it  has  its  source  not  in  the  Leviti- 
cal  priesthood,  but  in  Christ  the  Lord,  who  was  a  priest  not 
according  to  Aaron,  but  according  to  the  order  of  Melchise- 
dech.1  He  it  is  who,  endowed  with  supreme  authority  to 
grant  pardon  and  grace,  has  bequeathed  this  power  to  his 
Church,  a  power  limited,  however,  in  its  extent,  and  attached 
to  the  sacraments. 

To  exercise  this  power,  therefore,  ministers  are  appointed  Name  of 
and  solemnly  consecrated,  and  this  solemn  consecration  is  de-  thls  Sacra- 
nominated  "  Ordination,"  or  "  the  Sacrament  of  Orders."  To 
designate  this  Sacrament,  the  word  "  Orders"  has  been  made 
use  of  by  the  Holy  Fathers,  because  its  signification  is  very 
comprehensive,  and,  therefore,  well  adapted  to  convey  an  idea 
of  the  dignity  and  excellence  of  the  ministers  of  God.  Under 
stood  in  its  strict  and  proper  acceptation,  order  is  the  disposition 
of  superior  and  subordinate  parts,  which,  when  united,  present 
a  combination  so  harmonious  as  to  stand  in  mutual  and  accord 
ant  relations.  Comprising  then,  as  the  ministry  does,  many 
gradations  and  various  functions,  and  disposed,  as  all  these  gra 
dations  and  functions  are,  with  the  greatest  regularity,  this  Sacra 
ment  is  very  appropriately  called  "  the  Sacrament  of  Orders," 

That  Holy  Orders  are  to  be  numbered  amongst  the  Sacra-  Orders,  a 
ments  of  the  Church,  the  Council  of  Trent  establishes  on  the  Sacrament, 
same  principle  to  which  we  have  so  often  referred  in  proving 
the  other  Sacraments.  A  Sacrament  is  a  sensible  sign  of  an 
invisible  grace,  and  with  these  characters  Holy  Orders  are  in 
vested  :  their  external  forms  are  a  sensible  sign  of  the  grace 
and  power  which  they  confer  on  the  receiver  :  Holy  Orders, 
therefore,  are  really  and  truly  a  Sacrament.2  Hence  the  bishop, 
handing  to  the  candidate  for  priest's  orders,  a  chalice  which 
contains  wine  and  water,  and  a  patena  with  bread,  says :  "  Re 
ceive  the  power  of  offering  Sacrifice,"  &c.,  words  which, 
according  to  the  uniform  interpretation  of  the  Church,  impart 
power,  when  the  proper  matter  is  supplied,  of  consecrating  the 
Holy  Eucharist,  and  impress  a  character  on  the  soul.  To  this 
power  is  annexed  grace  duly  and  lawfully  to  discharge  the 
priestly  office,  according  to  these  words  of  the  Apostle:  "I 
admonish  thee,  that  th  :-u  stir  up  the  grace  of  God  which  is  in 

1  Heb.  vii.  11. 

2  Sess.  23.  de  online,  ordinem  esse  sacramentum  vid.  Trid.  sess.  23.  de  ordine.  c. 
I.  et  3.  et  can.  3,  4,  5.  Cone.  Florent.  in  decret.  de  sacr.  Aug.  lib.  2.  contr.  epist. 
Parmen.  cap.  13.  de  bono  conjug.  cap.  24.  et  lib.  1.  de  bapt.  contra  Donat.  c  1. 
Leo.  epist.  18.  Greg,  in  c.  10.  libr.  1.  Reg. 


'•J 1 6  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

thee,  by  the  imposition  of  my  hands  ;  for  God  hath  not 
given  us  the  spirit  of  fear,  but  of  power,  and  of  love,  and  of 

Number  of  With  regard  to  the  number  of  orders,  to  use  the  words  of  the 
Council  of  Trent,  "  As  the  ministry  of  so  exalted  a  priesthood 
is  a  divine  thing,  it  was  meet,  in  order  to  surround  it  with  the 
greater  dignity  and  veneration,  that  in  the  admirable  economy 
of  the  Church  there  should  be  several  distinct  orders  of  minis 
ters,  intended  by  their  office  to  serve  the  priesthood,  and  so 
disposed,  as  that,  beginning  with  the  clerical  tonsure,  they  may 
ascend  gradually  through  .the  lesser  to  the  greater  orders." 
Their  number,  according  to  the  uniform  and  universal  doctrine 
of  the  Catholic  Church,  is  seven,  Porter,  Reader,  Exorcist, 
Acolyte,  Sub-deacon,  Deacon,  and  Priest.3  That  these  compose 
the  number  of  ministers  in  the  Church  may  be  proved  from  the 
functions  necessary  to  the  solemn  celebration  of  Mass,  and  to 
the  consecration  and  administration  of  the  Holy  Eucharist,  for 
which  they  were  principally  instituted.  Of  these  some  are 
greater,  which  are  also  called  "  Holy,"  some  lesser,  which  are 
called  "  Minor  Orders."  The  greater  or  Holy  Orders  are  Sub- 
deaconship,  Deaconship,  and  Priesthood;  the  lesser  or  Minor 
Orders  are  Porter,  Reader,  Exorcist,  and  Acolyte.  To  facili 
tate  the  duty  of  the  pastor,  particularly  when  conveying  instruc 
tion  to  those  who  are  about  to  be  initiated  in  any  of  the  orders, 
it  is  necessary  to  say  a  few  words  on  each. 

We  shall  begin  with  the  tonsure,  which  is  a  sort  of  prepara 
tion  for  receiving  orders :  As  persons  are  prepared  for  baptism 
by  exorcisms,  and  for  marriage  by  espousals,  so  those  who  are 
consecrated  to  God  by  tonsure,  are  prepared  for  admission  to 
the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  Tonsure  declares  what  manner  of 
person  he  should  be,  who  desires  to  receive  orders :  the  name 
of  "  Clerk,"  (clericus)  which  he  receives  then  for  the  first  time, 
implies3  that  thenceforward  he  has  taken  the  Lord  for  his  inhe 
ritance,  like  those  who,  in  the  Old  Law,  were  consecrated  to 
the  service  of  God,  and  to  whom  the  Lord  forbade  that  any  por 
tion  of  the  ground  should  be  distributed  in  the  land  of  promise, 
saying,  "  I  am  thy  portion  and  thy  inheritance."*  This,  al 
though  true  of  all  Christians,  applies  in  a  special  manner  to 
those  who  have  been  consecrated  to  the  ministry.5  In  tonsure 
the  hair  of  the  head  is  cut  in  form  of  a  crown,  and  should  be 
worn  in  that  form,  enlarging  the  crown  according  as  the  eccle 
siastic  advances  in  Orders.  This  form  of  the  Tonsure  the  Church 
teaches  to  be  of  Apostolic  origin  :  it  is  mentioned  by  the  most 
ancient  and  venerable  Fathers,  by  St.  Denis  the  Areopagite,6 

1  Tim.  i.  6. 

2  Horum  ordinum  rr.eminerunt  Dionys.  lib.  Eccl.  Hier.  cap.  3.  Cornel.  Papa  in 
epist  ad  Fab.  episcop   Antioch.  extat  apud  Euseh.  Hist.  Eccles,  lib.  6.  cap.  35 
Cone.  Garth.  4.  can.  4.  et  seq.  Ignat.  epist.  ad  Antioch. 

3  xMe 35,  sors.  a  lot.  T.  4  Num.  xviii.  20. 
6  Vid.  Hieron.  epist.  2.  ad  Nepot.  et  citatur  12.  q.  1.  c.  clericus. 
6  Dionys.  de  Eccles.  Hier.  c.  6.  part.  2. 

its  form, 
origin,  and 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  217 

by  St.  Augustine,1  and  by  St.  Jerome.3  According  to  these 
venerable  personages  the  Tonsure  was  first  introduced  by  the 
prince  of  the  Apostles,  in  honour  of  the  crown  of  thorns  which 
was  pressed  upon  the  head  of  the  Redeemer ;  that  the  instrument 
devised  by  the  impiety  of  the  Jews  for  the  ignominy  and  tor 
ture  of  Christ  may  be  worn  by  his  Apostles  as  their  ornament 
and  glory.  It  was  also  intended  to  signify  that  the  ministers 
of  religion  are,  in  all  things,  so  to  comport  themselves,  as  to 
carry  about  them  the  figure  and  the  likeness  of  Christ.  Some, 
however,  assert  that  tonsure  is  an  emblem  of  the  royal  dignity, 
which  belongs  peculiarly  to  those  who  are  specially  called  to 
the  inheritance  of  God :  for  to  the  ministers  of  the  Church  be 
longs,  in  a  peculiar  manner,  what  the  Apostle  Peter  says  of 
all  Christians  :  "  You  -are  a  chosen  generation,  a  royal  priest 
hood,  a  holy  nation."3  Others  are  of  opinion  that  tonsure, 
which  is  cut  in  form  of  a  circle,  the  most  perfect  of  all  figures, 
is  emblematic  of  the  superior  perfection  of  the  ecclesiastical 
state ;  or  that,  as  it  consists  of  cutting  off  hair,  which  is  a  sort 
of  superfluity,  it  implies  a  contempt  of  worldly  things,  and  a 
detachment  from  all  earthly  cares  and  concerns. 

The  order  of  Porter  follows  Tonsure :  its  duty  consists  in  Porter, 
taking  care  of  the  keys  and  door  of  the  Church,  and  in  suf 
fering  none  to  enter  to  whom  entrance  is  prohibited.  The  Por 
ter  also  assisted  at  the  Holy  Sacrifice,  and  took  care  that  no  one 
should  approach  too  near  the  altar  or  interrupt  the  celebrant. 
To  the  order  of  Porter  also  belonged  other  functions,  as  is  clear 
from  the  forms  used  at  his  consecration :  taking  the  keys  from 
the  altar  and  handing  them  to  him,  the  bishop  says  :  "  CONDUCT 


ancient  Church  this  office  was  one  of  considerable  dignity  may 
be  inferred  from  still  existing  ecclesiastical  observances ;  for  to 
the  Porter  belonged  the  office  of  treasurer  of  the  Church,  to 
which  was  also  attached  that  of  guardian  of  the  sacristy ;  sta 
tions  the  duties  of  which  are  still  numbered  amongst  the  most 
honourable  functions  of  the  ecclesiastic.4 

The  second  amongst  the  Minor  Orders  is  that  of  Reader :  to  Reader 
him  it  belongs  to  read  to  the  people,  in  a  clear  and  distinct  voice, 
the  sacred  Scriptures,  particularly  the  Nocturnal  Psalmody ; 
and  on  him  also  devolves  the  task  of  instructing  the  faithful  in 
the  rudiments  of  the  faith.  Hence  the  bishop,  in  presence  of 
the  people,  handing  him  a  book  which  contains  what  belongs 
to  the  exercise  of  this  function,  says :  "  RECEIVE  (THIS  BOOK,) 


1  Aug.  serm.  17.  ad  Fratres  in  Eremo. 

2  Hier.  in  cap.  44.  Ezek.  vid.  Rliaban.  Maur.  lib.  de  institut  cleric.  Bed.  lib.  hist. 
5.  Angl.  c.  22. 

3  1  Pet.  ii.  9. 

4  De  Ostiario  vid.  Trid.  sess.  23.  de  reform,  c.  17.  Cone.  Tolet.  c.  6.  et  citatur.  disL 
25.  Ostiar.  Isid.  lib.  de  Eccl.  c.  14.  et  dist  25.  c.  perlectis,  et  apud  Baron.  AnnaL 
Eccl.  an.  34.  num.  287.  et  an.  44,  num.  78.  et  num.  80 

19  2E 


The,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 





The  third  order  is  that  of  Exorcist :  to  him  is  given  power 
to  invoke  the  name  of  the  Lord  over  persons  possessed  by  un 
clean  spirits.  Hence  the  bishop,  when  initiating  the  Exorcist, 
hands  him  a  book  containing  the  exorcisms,  and  says:  "  TAKE 


The  fourth  and  last  amongst  the  Minor  Orders  is  that  of  Aco 
lyte  :  the  duty  of  the  Acolyte  is  to  attend  and  serve  those  in 
holy  orders,  Deacons  and  Sub-deacons,  in  the  ministry  of  the 
altar.  The  Acolyte  also  attends  to  the  lights  used  at  the  cele 
bration  of  the  Holy  Sacrifice,  particularly  whilst  the  Gospel  is 
read.  At  his  ordination,  therefore,  the  bishop,  having  carefully 
admonished  him  of  the  nature  of  the  office  which  he  is  about  to 
assume,  places  in  his  hand  a  light,  with  these  words  :  "  RECEIVE 


He  then  hands  him  empty  cruits,  intended  to  supply  wine  and 
water  for  the  sacrifice,  saying  :  "  RECEIVE  THESE  CRUITS,  WHICH 

Minor  Orders,  which  do  not  come  under  the  denomination 
of  Holy,  and  which  have  hitherto  formed  the  subject-matter  of 
our  exposition,  are,  as  it  were,  the  vestibule  through  which  we 
ascend  to  holy  orders.  Amongst  the  latter  the  first  is  that  of 
Sub-deacon :  his  office,  as  the  name  implies,  is  to  serve  the 
Deacon  in  the  ministry  of  the  altar :  to  him  it  belongs  to  pre 
pare  the  altar-linen,  the  sacred  vessels,  the  bread  and  wine  ne 
cessary  for  the  Holy  Sacrifice,  to  minister  water  to  the  Priest 
or  Bishop  at  the  washing  of  the  hands  at  Mass,  to  read  the 
Epistle,  a  function  which  was  formerly  discharged  by  the  Dea 
con,  to  assist  at  Mass  in  the  capacity  of  a  witness,  and  see  that 
the  Priest  be  not  disturbed  by  any  one  during  its  celebration. 
These  functions,  which  appertain  to  the  ministry  of  the  Sub- 
deacon,  may  be  learned  from  the  solemn  ceremonies  used  at  his 
consecration.  In  the  first  place,  the  bishop  admonishes  him 
that  by  his  ordination  he  assumes  the  solemn  obligation  of  per 
petual  continence,  and  proclaims  aloud  that  he  alone  is  eligible 
to  this  office,  who  is  prepared  freely  to  embrace  this  law.  In 
the  next  place,  when  the  solemn  prayer  of  the  Litanies  has  been 
recited,  the  Bishop  enumerates  and  explains  the  duties  and  func 
tions  of  the  Sub-deacon.  This  done,  each  of  the  candidates  for 

1  Vid.  Cypr.  epist.  33.  et  Tertull.  de  prescript,  c.  61.  et  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccl. 
anno.  34.  num.  287.  et  an.  54.  78,  79.  an.  153.  num.  93.  an.  456.  num.  20. 

2  De  Exorcist,  vid.  supra  cit.  auctores  et  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccl.  an.  34.  num. 
287.  an.  44.  num.  78.  et  num.  80.  an.  237.  num.  89.  an.  56.  num.  5.  et  num.  8.  9.  10. 
H.  12. 

3  De  Acolytis  vid.  etiam  Cypr.  epist.  55.  et  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccl.  an.  44 
num.  39.  et  num.  80. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  219 

ordination  receives  from  the  Bishop  a  chalice  and  consecrated 
patena,  and  from  the  Archdeacon,  cruits  filled  with  wine  and 
water,  and  a  basin  and  towel  for  washing  and  drying  the  hands, 
to  remind  him  that  he  is  to  serve  the  Deacon.  These  ceremo 
nies  the  bishop  accompanies  with  this  solemn  admonition : 

ING  IN  THE  SIGHT  OF  GOD."  Additional  prayers  are  then  recited, 
and  when,  finally,  the  bishop  has  clothed  the  Sub-deacon  with 
the  sacred  vestments,  on  putting  on  each  of  which  he  makes 
use  of  appropriate  words  and  ceremonies,  he  then  hands  him 
the  book  of  the  Epistles,  saying  :  "  RECEIVE  THE  BOOK  OF  THE 

The  second  amongst  the  Holy  Orders  is  that  of  Deacon  :  his  Deacon, 
ministry  is  more  comprehensive,  and  has  been  always  deemed 
more  holy :  to  him  it  belongs  constantly  to  accompany  the 
bishop,  to  attend  him  when  preaching,  to  assist  him  and  the 
priest  also  during  the  celebration  of  the  Holy  Mysteries,  and  at 
the  administration  of  the  Sacraments,  and  to  read  the  Gospel  at 
the  Sacrifice  of  the  Mass.  In  the  primitive  ages  of  the  Church, 
he  not  unfrequently  exhorted  the  faithful  to  attend  to  the  divine 
worship,  and  administered  the  chalice  in  those  Churches,  in 
which  the  faithful  received  the  Holy  Eucharist  under  both  kinds 
In  order  to  administer  to  the  wants  of  the  necessitous,  to  him 
was  also  committed  the  distribution  of  the  goods  of  the  Church. 
To  the  Deacon  also,  as  the  eye  of  the  bishop,  it  belongs  to  in 
quire  and  ascertain  who  within  his  diocesC  lead  lives  of  piety 
and  edification,  and  who  do  not ;  who  attend  the  Holy  Sacri 
fice  of  the  Mass  and  the  instructions  of  their  pastors,  and  who 
do  noti  that  thus  the  bishop,  made  acquainted  by  him  with 
these  matters,  may  be  enabled  to  admonish  each  offender  pri 
vately,  or,  should  he  deem  it  more  conducive  to  their  reforma 
tion,  to  rebuke  and  correct  them  publicly.  He  also  calls  over 
the  names  of  catechumens,  and  presents  to  the  bishop  those 
who  are  to  be  promoted  to  orders.  In  the  absence  of  the  bishop 
and  priest,  he  is  also  authorized  to  expound  the  Gospel  to  the 
people,  not  however  from  an  elevated  place,  to  make  it  under 
stood  that  this  is  not  one  of  his  ordinary  functions.  That  the 
greatest  care  should  be  taken,  that  no  unworthy  person  be  ad 
vanced  to  the  oifice  of  Deacon,  is  evinced  by  the  emphasis  with 
which  the  Apostle,  writing  to  Timothy,  dwells  on  the  morals, 
the  virtue,  the  integrity  which  should  mark  the  lives  of  those 
who  are  invested  with  this  sacred  character.3  The  rites  and 
ceremonies  used  at  his  ordination  also  sufficiently  convey  the 
same  lesson  of  instruction.  The  prayers  used  at  the  ordination 

1  De  Subdiaconis  prater  auctores  supra  citatos  vide  Cypr.  epist  24.  et  epist.  42. 
dist.  17.  c.  presbyteris,  Can.  Apost.  can.  25.  Cone.  Carthag.  4.  can.  5.  Arelat.  2.  can. 
2.  Aurel.  3.  cap.  2.  Eliber.  can.  33.  Leo  I.  Epist.  82.  item  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccl. 
an  44  num.  79.  et  80.  an.  253.  num.  72.  num,  97.  an.  239.  num.  21.  an.  324.  num.  128. 
an.  588.  num.  48.  an.  589.  num.  6.  an.  1057.  num.  32.  2  1  Tim.  iii.  8. 



The  Priest 
hood,  two 


and  exter 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

of  a  Deacon  are  more  numerous  and  solemn  than  at  that  of  a 
Sub-deacon :  his  person  is  also  invested  with  the  sacred  stole : 
of  his  ordination  as  of  that  of  the  first  Deacons  who  were  or 
dained  by  the  Apostles,1  the  imposition  of  hands  also  forms  a 
part ;  and,  finally,  the  book  of  the  Gospels  is  handed  to  him  by 
the  bishop  with  these  words  :  "  RECEIVE  POWER  TO  :J:AD  THE 

The  third  and  highest  degree  of  all  Holy  Orders  is  the  Priest 
hood.  Persons  raised  to  the  Priesthood  the  Holy  Fathers  dis 
tinguish  by  two  names :  they  are  called  "  Presbyters,"  which  in 
Greek  signifies  elders,  and  which  was  given  them,  not  only  to 
express  the  mature  years  required  by  the  Priesthood,  but  still 
more,  the  gravity  of  their  manners,  their  knowledge  and  pru 
dence  :  "  Venerable  old  age  is  not  that  of  long  time,  nor  counted 
by  the  number  of  years  ;  but  the  understanding  of  a  man  is  grey 
hairs  :"3  they  are  also  called  "  Priests,"  (Sacerdotes)  because 
they  are  consecrated  to  God,  and  to  them  it  belongs  to  admi 
nister  the  sacraments  and  to  handle  sacred  things. 

But  as  the  Priesthood  is  described  in  the  Sacred  Scriptures 
as  two-fold,  internal  and  external,  a  line  of  distinction  must  be 
drawn  between  them,  that  the  pastor  may  have  it  in  his  power 
to  explain  to  the  faithful  the  Priesthood  which  is  here  meant. 

The  internal  Priesthood  extends  to  all  the  faithful,  who  have 
been  baptized,  particularly  to  the  just,  who  are  anointed  by  the 
Spirit  of  God,  and  by  the  divine  grace  are  made  living  members 
of  the  High-priest  Christ  Jesus.  Through  faith  inflamed  by 
charity,  they  offer  spiritual  sacrifices  to  God  on  the  altar  of  their 
hearts,  and  in  the  number  of  these  sacrifices  are  to  be  reckoned 
good  and  virtuous  actions,  referred  to  the  glory  of  God.  Hence 
we  read  in  the  Apocalypse  :  "  Christ  hath  washed  us  from 
our  sins  in  his  own  blood,  and  had  made  us  a  kingdom  and 
priests  to  God  and  his  Father."4  The  doctrine  of  St.  Peter  to 
the  same  effect  we  find  recorded  in  these  words  :  "  Be  you 
also  as  living  stones,  built  up,  a  spiritual  house,  a  holy  priest 
hood,  to  offer  up  spiritual  sacrifices  acceptable  to  God  by  Jesus 
Christ."5  The  Apostle  also  exhorts  us,  "to  present  our  bodies 
a  living  sacrifice,  holy,  pleasing  unto  God,  our  reasonable  ser 
vice  ;"6  and  David  had  said  long  before  :  "  A  sacrifice  to  God 
is  an  afflicted  spirit ;  a  contrite  and  humble  heart,  O  God ! 
thou  wilt  not  despise."7  That  all  these  authorities  regard  the 
internal  Priesthood,  it  requires  little  discernment  to  discover. 

The  external  Priesthood  does  not  extend  indiscriminately  to 

1  Acts  vi.  6. 

2  De  Diaconis  praeter  eitatos  supra  vid.  Clem.  Rom.  Constit.  Apostol.  lih.  2.  c.  6 
Cypr.  de  lapsis.    Amb.  lib.  1.  offic.  c.  41.  Leo  1.  serm.  de  S.  Laurent.  Clem.  Rom. 
epist  1.  ad  Jacob.  Fratrem  Domini,  Hier.  epist.  48.  et  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccl. 
an.  33.  num.  41.  an.  34.  num.  283.  an.  285  et  287.  an.  34.  num.  316.  an.  44.  num.  78 
et  80.  an.  57.  num.  31  et  num.  195.  an.  58.  num.  102,  an.  112.  num.  7.  8.  9.  an.  316. 
num.  48.  an.  324.  num.  325.  an  325.  num.  152.  an.  401.  num.  44  et  47.  an.  508.  num. 
15.  an.  741.  num.  12  3  Wisd.  4.  8. 

<  Apoc.  i.  5,  6  si  Pet.  ii.  5.  6  Rom.  xii.  1.  7  Ps.  1.  19. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  22 

the  great  body  of  the  faithful ;  it  is  appropriated  to  a  certain 
class  of  persons,  who,  being  invested  with  this  august  charac 
ter,  and  consecrated  to  God  by  the  lawful  imposition  of  hands 
and  the  solemn  ceremonies  of  the  Church,  are  devoted  to  some 
particular  office  in  the  sacred  ministry. 

This  distinction  of  Priesthood  is  observable  even  in  the  Old  This  dis- 
Law.     We  have  already  seen  that  David  spoke  of  the  internal  ^nr^fl°^ 
Priesthood ;  and  with  regard  to  the  external,  the  numerous  com-  the  Old 
mands  delivered  by  God  to  Moses  and  Aaron  in  reference  to  it,  Law. 
are  too  well  known  to  require  special  mention.     Moreover,  the 
Almighty  appointed  the  tribe  of  Levi  to  the  ministry  of  the  tem 
ple,  and  forbade  by  an  express  law  that  any  member  of  a  differ 
ent  tribe  should  assume  that  function ;  and  Osias,  stricken  by 
God  with  leprosy  for  having  usurped  the  sacerdotal  office,  was 
visited  with  the  heaviest  chastisement  for  his  arrogant  and  sacri 
legious  intrusion.1,  As,  then,  we  find  this  same  distinction  of  We  here 
internal  and  external  Priesthood  in  the  New  Law,  the  faithful  ^aekxt°efr. 
are  to  be  informed  that  we  here  speak  of  the  external  only,  for  nal  priest 
that  alone  belongs  to  the  Sacrament  of  Holy  Orders.  hood- 

The  office  of  the  Priest  is  then,  as  the  rites  used  at  his  con-  Its  office 
secration  declare,  to  offer  sacrifice  to  God,  and  to  administer  the  j^6^ 
Sacraments  of  the  Church:  the  bishop,  and  after  him  the  priests  rites  by 
who  may  be  present,  impose  hands  on  the  candidate  for  priest-  which  it  is 
hood ;  then  placing  a  stole  on  his  shoulders,  he  adjusts  it  in  confejrred- 
form  of  a  cross,  to  signify  that  the  priest  receives  strength  from        if. 
above,  to  enable  him  to  carry  the  cross  of  Jesus  Christ,  to  bear 
the  sweet  yoke  of  his  divine  law,  and  to  enforce  this  law,  not 
by  word  only,  but  also  by  the  eloquent  example  of  a  holy  life. 
He  next  anoints  his  hands  with  sacred  oil,  reaches  him  a  chalice        HI. 
containing  wine  and  a  patena  with  bread,  saying :  "  RECEIVE 

AS  WELL  FOR  THE  LIVING  AS  FOR  THE  DEAD."  By  these  WOrds 

and  ceremonies  he  is  constituted  an  interpreter  and  mediator 
between  God  and  man,  the  principal  function  of  the  Priesthood. 
Finally,  placing  his  hands  on  the  head  of  the  person  to  be  or-       IV. 
dained,  the   bishop   says :    "  RECEIVE   YE   THE  HOLY  GHOST  ; 


thus  investing  him  with  that  divine  power  of  forgiving  and  re 
taining  sins,  which  was  conferred  by  our  Lord  on  his  disciples 
— These  are  the  principal  and  peculiar  functions  of  the  Priest 

The  Order  of  Priesthood,  although  essentially  one,  has  dif-  The  pneat- 
ferent  degrees  of  dignity  and  power.  The  first  is  confined  to  ^^'h^e 
those  who  are  simply  called  Priests,  and  whose  functions  we  has  differ- ' 
have  now  explained.  The  second  is  that  of  Bishops,  who  are  ent degrees 
placed  over  their  respective  Sees,  to  govern  not  only  the  other  ^nd  wwer 

1  Amb.  lib.  4.  de  sacram.  cap.  1.  August,  lib.  10.  de  civ.  Dei,  c.  6  et  10.    Leo. 
•erm.  3.  de  Annivers.  Pontific.  2  Par.  26.  18, 19. 
ajohniii  xx.  22,23 

222  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

ministers  of  the  Church,  but  also  the  faithful ;  and,  with  sleep 
less  vigilance  and  unwearied  care,  to  watch  over  and  promote 
their  salvation.  Hence  the  Sacred  Scriptures  frequently  call 
them  "  the  pastors  of  the  sheep ;"  and  their  office,  and  the 
duties  which  it  imposes,  are  developed  by  Paul  in  his  sermon 
to  the  Thessalonians,  recorded  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles.1 
Peter  also  has  left  for  the  guidance  of  Bishops  a  divine  rule  ; 
and  if  their  lives  harmonize  with  its  spirit,  they  will  no  doubt 
be  esteemed,  and  will  really  be,  good  pastors.3  But  Bishops 
HI.  are  also  called  "  Pontiffs,"  a  name  borrowed  from  the  ancient 
Romans,  and  used  to  designate  their  Chief-priests.  The  third 
degree  is  that  of  Archbishop  :  he  presides  over  several  Bishops, 
and  is  also  called  "  Metropolitan,"  because  he  is  placed  over 
the  Metropolis  of  the  Province.  Archbishops,  therefore,  (al 
though  their  ordination  is  the  same,)  enjoy  more  ample  power, 

IV.  and  a  more  exalted  station  than  bishops.     Patriarchs  hold  the 
fourth  place,  and  are,  as  the  name  implies,  the  first  and  supreme 
Fathers  in  the  Episcopal  order.     Formerly,  besides  the  Sove 
reign  Pontiff,  there  were  but  four  Patriarchs  in  the  Church : 
their  dignity  was  not  the  same ;  the  Patriarch  of  Constantino 
ple,  although  last  in  the  order  of  time,  was  first  in  rank — an 
honour  conceded  to  him  as  Bishop  of  Constantinople,  the  capi 
tal  of  the  imperial  world.     Next  to  the  Patriarchate  of  Con 
stantinople,  is  that  of  Alexandria,  a  see  founded  by  the  Evan 
gelist  St.  Mark  by  command  of  the  prince  of  the  Apostles.    The 
third  is  the  Patriarchate  of  Antioch,  founded  by  St.  Peter,  and 
the  first  seat  of  the  Apostolic  See ;  the  fourth  and  last,  the  Pa 
triarchate  of  Jerusalem,  founded  by  St.  James,  the  brother  of 
our  Lord. 

V.  Superior  to  all  these  is  the  Sovereign  Pontiff,  whom  Cyril, 
Archbishop-  of  Alexandria,    denominated   in   the    Council    of 
Ephesus,   "the   Father  and  Patriarch   of  the   whole   world." 
Sitting  in  that  chair  in  which  Peter  the  prince  of  the  Apostles 
sat  to  the   close  of  life,  the   Catholic  Church  recognises  in 
his  person  the  most  exalted  degree  of  dignity,  •  and  the   full 
amplitude  of  jurisdiction  ;  a  dignity  and  a  jurisdiction  not  based 
on  synodal,  or  other  human  constitutions,  but  emanating  from 
no  less  an  authority  than  God  himself.     As  the  successor  of 
St.  Peter,  and  the  true  and  legitimate  vicar  of  Jesus  Christ,  he, 
therefore,  presides  over  the  Universal  Church,  the  Father  and 
Governor  of  all  the  faithful,  of  Bishops,  also,  and  of  all  other 
prelates,  be  their  station,  rank,  or  power  what  they  may.3 

Instruction       From  what  has  been  said,  the  pastor  will  take  occasion  to  in- 
fulon?hLh"  form  the  faithful  what  are  tne  principal  offices  and  functions  of 
Sacrament.  Ecclesiastical  Orders,  and  their  degrees,  and,  also,  who  is  the 
minister  of  this  Sacrament. 

1  Acts  xx.  28.  2  i  pet.  v.  2. 

3  De  primatu  Summi  Pontificis  vid.  Anacl.  epist,  3.  c.  3.  et  citatur  dist.  22.  c.  Sa 
crosancta.  Greg,  lib.  7.  epist.  64  et  65.  Nicol.  Pap.  epist.  ad  Mediolanens.  et  citat 
dist.  22.  c.  omnes,  vid.  item  eadem  dist.  c.  Constantin.  Cone.  Chalced.  in  ep.  ad 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders.  223 

That  to  the  Bishop  belongs  exclusively  the  administration  of  The  minis- 

this  Sacrament  is  matter  of  certainty,  and  is  easily  proved  by  Jf r  of  the . 

„  _,  i  •  •  -i  i  r  »    Sacrament 

the  authority  of  Scripture,  by  traditional  evidence  the  most  un-  of  Orders, 

equivocal,  by  the  unanimous  attestation  of  all  the  Holy  Fathers,  a  Bishop, 
by  the  decrees  of  Councils,  and  by  the  practice  of  the  Univer 
sal  Church.  Some  Abbots,  it  is  true,  were  occasionally  per 
mitted  to  confer  Minor  Orders  :  all,  however,  admit  that  even 
this  is  the  proper  office  of  the  Bishop,  to  whom,  and  to  whom 
alone,  it  is  lawful  to  confer  the  other  Orders :  Sub-deacons, 
Deacons,  and  Priests  are  ordained  by  one  Bishop  only,  but  ac 
cording  to  Apostolic  tradition,  a  tradition  which  has  always 
been  preserved  in  the  Church,  he  himself  is  consecrated  by 
three  Bishops. 

We  now  come  to  explain  the  qualifications  necessary  in  the  Necessity 
candidate  for  Orders,  particularly  for  Priesthood.     From  what  of  ex'renie 
we  shall  have  said  on  this  subject,  it  will  not  be  difficult  to  de-  promoting 
cide  what  should  also  be  the  qualifications  of  those  who  are  to  to  Orders, 
be  initiated  in  other  Orders,  according  to  their  respective  offices 
and  comparative  dignities.     That  too  much  precaution  cannot 
be  used  in  promoting  to  Orders  is  obvious  from  this  considera 
tion  alone :  the  other  Sacraments  impart  grace  for  the  sanctifi- 
cation  and  salvation  of  those  who  receive  them — Holy  Orders 
for  the  good  of  the  Church,  and  therefore  for  the  salvation  of  all 
her  children.     Hence  it  is  that  Orders  are  conferred  on  certain 
appointed  days  only,  days  on  which,  according  to  the  most  an 
cient  practice  of  the  Church,  a  solemn  fast  is  observed,  to  ob 
tain  from  God  by  holy  and  devout  prayer,  ministers  not  unwor 
thy  of  their  high  calling,  qualified  to  exercise  the  transcendant 
power  with  which  they  are  to  be  invested,  with  propriety  and 
to  the  edification  of  his  Church. 

In  the  candidate  for  priesthood,  therefore,  integrity  of  life  is  Qualifies- 

a  first  and  essential  qualification,  not  only  because  to  procure,  t'ons  (or 

.    ,.  ,.,      /.  -i          theories*- 

or  even  to  permit  his  ordination,  whilst  his  conscience  is  bur-  hood. 

dened  with  the  weight  of  mortal  sin,  is  to  aggravate  his  former  I- 
guilt,  by  an  additional  crime  of  the  deepest  enormity ;  but,  also, 
because  it  is  his  to  enlighten  the  darkness  of  others  by  the 
lustre  of  his  virtue,  and  the  bright  example  of  innocence  of  life. 
The  lessons  addressed  by  the  Apostle  to  Titus  and  to  Timo 
thy1  should,  therefore,  supply  the  pastor  with  matter  for  instruc 
tion  ;  nor  should  he  omit  to  observe,  that  whilst  by  the  com 
mand  of  God  bodily  defects  disqualified  for  the  ministry  of  the 
altar  in  the  Old  Law,  in  the  Christian  dispensation  such  exclu 
sion  rests  principally  on  the  deformities  of  the  mind.  The 
candidate  for  Orders,  therefore,  in  accordance  with  the  holy 
practice  of  the  Catholic  Church,  will  first  study  diligently  to 
purify  his  conscience  from  sin  in  the  Sacrament  of  Penance. 

In  the  Priest  we  also  look  not  merely  for  that  portion  of         n 
knowledge  which  is  necessary  to  the  proper  administration  of 
the  Sacraments :  more  is  expected — an  intimate  acquaintance 

1  Tit.  i.  and  1  Tim.  iii. 


On  whom 
Orders  are 
not  to  be 

224  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

with  the  science  of  the  Sacred  Volume  should  fit  him  to  instruct 
the  faithful  in  the  mysteries  of  religion,  and  in  the  precepts  of 
the  Gospel,  to  reclaim  from  sin,  and  excite  to  piety  and  virtue. 
The  due  consecration  and  administration  of  the  Sacraments,  and 
the  instruction  of  those  who  are  committed  to  his  care  in  the 
way  of  salvation,  constitute  two  important  duties  of  the  pastor. 
"The  lips  of  the  priest,"  says  Malachy,  "shall  keep  know 
ledge,  and  they  shall  seek  the  law  at  his  mouth  ;  because  he  is 
the  angel  of  the  Lord  of  Hosts."1  To  a  due  consecration  and 
administration  of  the  Sacraments,  a  moderate  share  of  know 
ledge  suffices  ;  but  to  instruct  the  faithful  in  all  the  truths  and 
duties  of  religion,  demands  considerable  ability,  and  extensive 
knowledge.  In  all  priests,  however,  recondite  learning  is  not 
demanded :  it  is  sufficient  that  each  possess  competent  know 
ledge  to  discharge  the  duties  of  his  own  particular  office  in  the 

The  Sacrament  of  Orders  is  not  to  be  conferred  on  very 
young,  or  on  insane  persons,  because  they  do  not  enjoy  the  use 
of  reason :  if  administered,  however,  it  no  doubt  impresses  a 
character.  The  age  required  for  the  reception  of  the  different 
Orders  may  be  easily  known  by  consulting  the  decrees  of  the 
Council  of  Trent.  Persons  obligated  to  render  certain  stipu 
lated  services  to  others,  and  therefore  not  at  their  own  disposal, 
are  inadmissible  to  Orders;  persons  accustomed  to  shed  blood, 
and  homicides,  are  also  excluded  from  the  ecclesiastical  state  by 
an  ecclesiastical  law,  and  are  irregular.  The  same  law  ex 
cludes  those  whose  admission  into  the  ministry  may  and  must 
bring  contempt  on  religion  ;  and  hence  illegitimate  children, 
and  all  who  are  born  out  of  lawful  wedlock,  are  disqualified  for 
the  sacred  ministry.  Finally,  persons  who  are  maimed,  or  who 
labour  under  any  remarkable  personal  deformity,  are  also  ex 
cluded  ;  such  defects  offend  the  eye,  and  frequently  incapacitate 
for  the  discharge  of  the  duties  of  the  ministry. 

Having  explained  these  matters,  it  remains  that  the  pastor 
unfold  the  effects  of  this  Sacrament.  It  is  clear,  as  we  have 
already  said,  that  the  Sacrament  of  Orders,  although  primarily 
instituted  for  the  advantage  and  edification  of  the  Church,  im 
parts  grace  to  him  who  receives  it  with  the  proper  dispositions, 
which  qualifies  and  enables  him  to  discharge  with  fidelity  the 
duties  which  it  imposes,  and  amongst  which  is  to  be  numbered 
the  administration  of  the  Sacraments.  As  baptism  qualifies  for 
their  reception,  so  Orders  qualify  for  their  administration.  Or 
ders  also  confer  another  grace,  which  is  a  special  power  in  re 
ference  to  the  Holy  Eucharist ;  a  power  full  and  perfect  in  the 
priest,  who  alone  can  consecrate  the  body  and  blood  of  our 
Lord,  but  in  the  subordinate  ministers,  greater  or  less  in  propor 
tion  to  their  approximation  to  the  sacred  mysteries  of  the  altar. 
III.  This  power  is  also  denominated  a  spiritual  character,  which,  by 
a  certain  interior  mark  impressed  on  the  soul,  distinguishes  the 

Effects  of 
the  Sacra 
ment  of 


1  Malach.  ii.  7. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  22o 

ecclesiastic  from  the  rest  of  the  faithful,  and  devotes  them  spe 
cially  to  the  divine  service.  This  the  Apostle  seems  to  have 
had  in  view,  when  he  thus  addressed  Timothy  :  "  Neglect  not 
the  grace  that  is  in  thee,  which  was  given  thee  by  prophecy, 
with  the  imposition  of  the  hands  of  the  priesthood  ;"*  and 
again,  "  I  admonish  thee,  that  thou  stir  up  the  grace  of  God, 
which  is  in  thee  by  the  imposition  of  my  hands."3 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Orders  let  thus  much  suffice.  Our 
purpose  has  been  to  lay  before  the  pastor  the  most  important 
particulars  upon  the  subject,  in  order  to  supply  him  with  matter 
upon  which  he  may  draw  for  the  instruction  of  the  faithful,  and 
their  advancement  in  Christian  piety. 


As  it  is  the  duty  of  the  pastor  to  propose  to  himself  the  holi-  A  life  of 
ness  and  perfection  of  the  faithful,  his  earnest  desires  must  be  in  continence 
full  accordance  with  those  of  the  Apostle,  when,  writing  to  the  8iredbyall. 
Corinthians,  he  says  :  "  I  would  that  all  men  were  even  as  my 
self  ;"3  that  is,  that  all  embraced  the  virtue  of  continence.  If 
there  be  any  one  blessing  superior  to  every  other,  it  surely  falls 
to  the  lot  of  him  who,  unlettered  by  the  distracting  cares  of  the 
world,  the  turbulence  of  passion  tranquillized,  the  unruly  de 
sires  of  the  flesh  extinguished,  reposes  in  the  practice  of  piety 
and  the  contemplation  of  heavenly  things.  But  as,  according  The  sane- 
to  the  same  Apostle,  "  every  one  hath  his  proper  gift  from  God,  M'y  of  mat 
one  after  this  manner,  and  another  after  that,"4  and  marriage  is 
gifted  with  many  divine  blessings,  holding,  as  it  does,  a  place 
amongst  the  Sacraments  of  the  Church,  and  honoured,  as  it 
was,  by  the  presence  of  our  Lord  himself,5  it  becomes  the  ob 
vious  duty  of  the  pastor  to  expound  its  doctrine ;  particularly 
when  we  find  that  St.  Paul,  and  the  prince  of  the  Apostles, 
have,  in  many  places,  minutely  described  to  us  not  only  the 
dignity  but  also  the  duties  of  the  married  state.  Filled  with  the 
Spirit  of  God,"  they  well  understood  the  numerous  and  import 
ant  advantages  which  must  flow  to  Christian  society  from  a 
knowledge  of  the  sanctity  and  an  inviolable  observance  of  the 
obligations  of  marriage  ;  whilst  they  saw  that  from  an  igno 
rance  of  the  former,  and  a  disregard  of  the  latter,  marriage 
must  prove  the  fertile  source  of  the  greatest  evils,  and  the  hea 
viest  calamities  to  the  Church  of  God. 

The  nature  and  import  of  marriage  are,  therefore,  to  be  first  Nature 

explained  ;  for  as  vice  not  unfrequently  assumes  the  semblance  a"d  'mjxm 
•          i  i         i       t-  •  i  f  i    i  -i   ofmamaee 

of  virtue,  care  must  be  taken  that  the  faithful  be  not  deceived  to  be  fjreV 


'  1  Tim.  iv.  14.  2  2  Tim.  i.  6.  3 1  Cor.  vii.  7. 

<  1  Cor.  vii.  7  *  John  ii.  2. 



Meaning  of 
the  word 
"  matri 


«  Mar 

of  matri 
mony,  ex 

In  what 



The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

by  a  false  appearance  of  marriage,  and  thus  stain  their  souls  with 
the  turpitude  and  defilement  of  wicked  lusts.  To  give  them  com 
petent  and  correct  information  on  this  important  subject,  we 
shall  begin  with  the  meaning  of  the  word  "  Matrimony."  It 
is  called  "  Matrimony,"  because  the  principal  object  which  a 
female  should  propose  to  herself  in  marriage  is  to  become  a 
mother  ;  (matrem)  or  because  to  a  mother  it  belongs  to  conceive, 
bring  forth,  and  train  up  her  offspring.  It  is  also  called  "  wed 
lock,"  (conjugium)  from  the  conjugal  union  of  man  and  wife  ; 
(a  conjugendo)  because  a  lawful  wife  is  united  to  her  husband, 
as  it  were,  by  a  common  yoke.  It  is  called  "  marriage,"  (nup- 
tiae)  because,  as  St.  Ambrose  observes,  the  bride  veiled  her  face 
(se  obnuberent)  through  modesty,  a  reverential  observance 
which  would  also  seem  to  imply  that  she  was  to  be  subject  to 
her  husband.1 

Matrimony,  in  the  general  opinion  of  divines,  is  defined  "  The 
conjugal  and  legitimate  union  of  man  and  woman,  which  is  to 
last  during  life."  In  order  that  the  different  parts  of  this  defi 
nition  may  be  better  understood,  the  pastor  will  teach  that,  al 
though  a  perfect  marriage  has  all  these  conditions,  viz.  internal 
consent,  external  assent  expressed  by  words,  the  obligation 
and  tie  which  arise  from  the  contract,  and  the  marriage  debt  by 
which  it  is  consummated ;  yet  the  obligation  and  tie  expressed  by 
the  word  "  union,"  alone  have  the  force  and  nature  of  marriage. 
The  peculiar  character  of  this  union  is  marked  by  the  word 
"conjugal,"  distinguishing  it  from  other  contracts  by  which 
persons  unite  to  promote  their  common  interests,  engage  to 
render  some  service  for  a  stipulated  time,  or  enter  into  an  agree 
ment  for  some  other  purpose,  contracts  all  of  which  differ 
essentially  from  this  "  conjugal  union."  Next  follows  the  word 
"  legitimate  ;"  for  persons  excluded  by  law  cannot  contract 
marriage,  and  if  they  do  their  marriage  is  invalid.  Persons, 
for  instance,  within  the  fourth  degree  of  kindred,  a  boy  before 
his  fourteenth  year,  and  a  female  before  her  twelfth,  the  ages 
established  by  the  laws,8  cannot  contract  marriage.  The  words 
"which  is  to  last  during  life,"  express  the  indissolubility  of  the 
tie,  which  binds  husband  and  wife. 

Hence,  it  is  evident,  that  in  that  tie  consists  marriage.  Some 
eminent  divines,  it  is  true,  say  that  it  consists  in  .the  consent, 
as  when  they  define  it :  "  The  consent  of  the  man  and  woman  ;" 
but  we  are  to  understand  them  to  mean  that  the  consent  is  the 
efficient  cause  of  marriage,  which  is  the  doctrine  of  the  Fathers 
of  the  Council  of  Florence ;  because,  without  the  consent  and 
contract,  the  obligation  and  tie  cannot  possibly  exist.  But  it  is 
of  absolute  necessity  that  the  consent  be  expressed  in  words 
which  designate  the  present  time.  Marriage  is  not  a  simple 

1  De  his  nomin.  vid.  Aug.  lib.  19.  contr.  Faust,  c.  26.  Ambr.  lib.  1.  de  Abraham 
c.  9.  in  fine,  item  vid.  30.  q.  5.  c.  foemina,  et  33.  q.  5.  c.  Mulier.  Isidor.  lib.  de  Eccl 
officiis  c.  19. 

2  Such  laws,  the  reader  will  perceiv?,  are  of  a  local  nature,  and  vary  in  different 
countries. — T. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  227 

donation,  but  a  mutual  contract ;  and  therefore  the  consent  of 
one  of  the  parties  is  insufficient,  that  of  both  necessary  to  its  va 
lidity  ;  and  to  declare  this  consent,  words  are  obviously  the 
medium  to  be  employed.  If  the  internal  consent  alone,  with 
out  any  external  indication,  were  sufficient,  it  would  then  seem 
to  follow  as  a  necessary  consequence,  that  were  two  persons, 
living  in  the  most  separate  and  distant  countries,  to  consent  to 
marry,  they  should  contract  a  true  and  indissoluble  marriage, 
even  before  they  had  mutually  signified  to  each  other  their  con 
sent  by  letter  or  messenger ;  a  consequence  as  repugnant  to 
reason  as  it  is  opposed  to  the  decrees  and  established  usage 
of  the  Church. 

It  has  been  wisely  provided  that  the  consent  of  the  parties  The  con- 
to  the  marriage  contract  be  expressed  in  words  which  have  re-  sent  of  the 
ference   to  the  present  time.     Words   which  signify  a  future  ^'express- 
time  promise,  but  do  not  actually  unite  in  marriage:  it  is  evi-  ed  in  words 
dent  that  what  is  to  be  done  has  no  present  existence :   what  ™n|ch 
does  not  exist  can  have  little  or  no  firmness  or  stability  :  a  pro-  enceto  the 
raise  of  marriage,  therefore,  does  not  give  a  title  to  the  rights  present 
of  marriage.     Such   promises  are,  it  is  true,  obligatory ;  and  time- 
their  violation  involves  the  offending  party  in  a  breach  of  faith : 
but  although  entered  into  they  have  not  been  actually  fulfilled, 
and  cannot  therefore  constitute  marriage.     But  he  who  has  once 
entered  into  the  matrimonial  alliance,  regret  it  as  he  afterwards 
may,  cannot  possibly  change,  or  invalidate,  or  undo  the  com 
pact.     As  then  the  marriage  contract  is  not  a  mere  promise,  but 
a  transfer  of  right,  by  which  the  man  yields  the  dominion  of  his 
person  to  the  woman,  the  woman  the  dominion  of  her  person 
to  the  man,  it  must  therefore   be  made  in  words  which  desig 
nate  the  present  time,  the  force  of  which  word?  abides  with  un- 
diminished   efficacy  from   the   moment  of  their  utterance,   and 
binds  the  husband  and  wife  by  a  tie  which  can   never  be  dis 
solved,  but  by  death  of  one  of  the  parties. 

Instead  of  words,  however,  it  may  be  sufficient  for  the  va-  A  nod  or 
lidity  of  the  marriage  contract  to  substitute  a  nod  or  other  une-  olher  une 
quivocal  sign  of  tacit  consent :  even  silence,  when  the  result  j^n^ay 
of  female  modesty,  may  be  sufficient,  provided  the  parents  an-  be  suffi- 
swer  for  their  daughter.     Hence  the  pastor  will  teach  the  faith-  cient- 
ful  that  the  nature  and  force  of  marriage  consists  in  the  tie  and 
obligation  ;  and  that,  without  consummation,  the  consent  of  the  Consum- 
parties,  expressed  in  the  manner  already  explained,  is  sufficient  mation  not 
to  constitute  a  true  marriage.     It  is  certain  that  our  first  parents  necessary- 
before  their   fall,    when,    according  to  the   Holy  Fathers,   no 
consummation   took   place,   were    really  united   in  marriage.1 
The  holy  Fathers,  therefore,  say  that  marriage  consists  not  in 
its  consummation,  but  in  the  consent  of  the  contracting  parties  ; 
a  doctrine  repeated  by  St.  Ambrose  in  his  book  on  virginity.3 

Having  explained  these  matters,  the  pastor  will  proceed  to  Marriage 
teach  that  matrimony  is  to  be  considered  in  two  points  of  view,  tw°-fold, 

'  Gen.  ii.  22.  2  De  iristit.  virgin,  cap.  6. 


and  sacra 

by  God. 


not  obliga 
tory  on  all. 

why  insti 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

either  as  a  natural  union,  (marriage  was  invented  not  by  man  but 
by  nature)  or  as  a  sacrament,  the  efficacy  of  which  transcends 
the  order  of  nature  ;  and  as  grace  perfects  nature,  ("  That  was 
not  first  which  is  spiritual,  but  that  which  is  natural ;  after 
wards  that  which  is  spiritual,")1  the  order  of  our  matter  requires 
that  we  first  treat  of  matrimony  as  a  natural  contract,  and  next 
as  a  sacrament. 

The  faithful,  therefore,  are  to  be  taught,  in  the  first  place, 
that  marriage  was  instituted  by  God.  We  read  in  Genesis, 
that  "  God  created  them  male  and  female,  and  blessed  them 
saying  :  'Increase  and  multiply  :'  "  and  also  :  "It  is  not  good 
for  a  man  to  be  alone  :  let  us  make  him  a  help  like  unto  him 
self.  Then  the  Lord  God  cast  a  deep  sleep  upon  Adam  ;  and 
when  he  was  fast  asleep,  he  took  one  of  his  ribs,  and  filled  up 
flesh  for  it.  And  the  Lord  God  built  the  rib  which  he  took 
from  Adam  into  a  woman,  and  brought  her  to  Adam  ;  and 
Adam  said :  this  is  now  bone  of  my  bones,  and  flesh  of  my 
flesh :  she  shall  be  called  woman,  because  she  was  taken  out 
of  man  :  wherefore  a  man  shall  leave  father  and  mother,  and 
shall  cleave  to  his  wife  ;  and  they  shall  be  two  in  one  flesh.'  "a 
These  words,  according  to  the  authority  of  our  Lord  himself  as 
we  read  in  St.  Matthew,  establish  the  divine  institution  of  Ma 

Not  only  did  God  institute  marriage;  he  also,  as  the  Coun 
cil  of  Trent  declares,  rendered  it  perpetual  and  indissoluble  :* 
"what  God  hath  joined  together,"  says  our  Lord,  "let  not  man 
separate."5  As  a  natural  contract,  it  accords  with  the  duties  of 
marriage  that  it  be  indissoluble ;  yet  its  indissolubility  arises 
principally  from  its  nature  as  a  sacrament ;  and  this  it  is  that, 
in  all  its  natural  relations,  elevates  it  to  the  highest  perfection. 
Its  dissolubility,  however,  is  at  once  opposed  to  the  proper 
education  of  children,  and  to  the  other  important  ends  of  mar 

But  the  words  "increase  and  multiply,"  which  were  uttered 
by  Almighty  God,  do  not  impose  on  every  individual  an  obliga 
tion  to  marry  :  they  declare  the  object  of  the  institution  of  mar 
riage  ;  and  now  that  the  human  face  is  widely  diffused,  not  only 
is  there  no  law  rendering  marriage  obligatory,  but,  on  the  con 
trary,  virginity  is  highly  exalted  and  strongly  recommended  in 
Scripture  as  superior  to  marriage,  as  a  state  of  greater  perfection 
and  holiness.  On  this  subject  the  doctrine  taught  by  our  Lord 
himself  is  contained  in  these  words :  "  He  that  can  take  it,  let 
him  take  it  ;"8  and  the  Apostle  says  :  "  Concerning  virgins 
I  have  no  commandment  from  the  Lord;  but  I  give  counsel  as 
having  obtained  mercy  from  the  Lord  to  be  faithful."7 

But  why  marriage  was  instituted  is  a  subject  which  demands 
exposition — The  first  reason  of  its  institution  is  because  nature 
instinctively  tends  to  such  a  union ;  and  under  the  vicissitudes 

i  1  Cor.  xv  46. 
3  Matt.  xix.  6. 
•  Matt  xix.  12. 

J  (Jen.  i.  27,  28.    Gen  ii.  18.  21, 22,  23,  24. 
4  Sess.  24.  init.  6  Matt.  xk.  6. 

'  1  Cor.  vii.  25. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  229 

of  life  and  the  infirmities  of  old  age,  this  union  is  a  source  of 
mutual  assistance  and  support.    Another  is  the  desire  of  family,        II. 
not  so  much,  however,  with  a  view  to  leave  after  us  heirs  to 
inherit  our  property  and  fortune,  as  to  bring  up  children  in  the 
true  faith  and  in  the  service  of  God.     That  such  was  the  prin 
cipal  object  of  the  Holy  Patriarchs  when  they  engaged  in  the  mar 
ried  state,  we  learn  from  the  Sacred  Volumes ;  and  hence  the 
angel,  when  informing  Tobias  of  the  means  of  repelling  the  vio 
lent  assaults  of  the  evil  demon,  says  :     "  I  will  show  thee  who 
they  are  over  whom  the  devil  can  prevail ;   for  they  who   in 
such  manner  receive  matrimony,  as  to  shut  out  God  from  them 
selves  and  from  their  mind,  and  to  give  themselves  to  their  lust, 
as  the  horse  and  mules  which  have  not  understanding,  over 
them  the  devil  hath  power."     He  then  adds  :     "  thou   shalt 
take  the  virgin  with  the  fear  of  the  Lord,  moved  rather  for  love 
of  children  than  for  lust,  that  in  the   seed  of  Abraham  thou 
mayest  obtain  a  blessing  in  children."1    This  was  also  amongst  Note, 
the  reasons  why  God  instituted  marriage  from  the  beginning ; 
and  therefore  married  persons  who,  to  prevent  conception  or 
procure  abortion,  have  recourse  to   medicine,  are  guilty  of  a 
most  heinous  crime — nothing  less  than  premeditated  murder. 
The  third  reason  is  one  which  is  to  be  numbered  amongst  the        III. 
consequences  of  primeval  transgressions  :    stript  of  original  in 
nocence,  human  appetite  began  to  rise  in  rebellion  against  right 
treason ;  and  man,  conscious  of  his  own  frailty,  and   unwilling 
to  fight  the  battles  of  the  flesh,  is  supplied  by  marriage  with  an 
antidote  against  the  licentiousness  of  corrupt  desire.     "  For 
fear  of  fornication,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  let  every  man  have  his 
own  wife,  and  let  every  woman  have  her  own  husband  ;"  and 
a  little  after,  having  recommended  to  married  persons  a  tempo 
rary  abstinence  from  the  marriage  debt,  "  to  give  themselves  to 
prayer,"  he  adds  :     "  Return  together  again,  lest  Satan  tempt 
you  for  your  incontinency."3 

These  are  ends,  some  one  of  which,  those  who  desire  to  con-  Note 
tract  marriage  piously  and  religiously,  as  becomes  the  children 
of  the  Saints,  should  propose  to  themselves.  If  to  these  we 
add  other  concurring  causes  which  induce  to  contract  marriage, 
such  as  the  desire  of  leaving  an  heir,  wealth,  beauty,  illustrious 
descent,  congeniality  of  disposition,  such  motives,  because  not 
inconsistent  with  the  holiness  of  marriage,  are  not  to  be  con 
demned  :  we  do  not  find  that  the  Sacred  Scriptures  condemn 
the  patriarch  Jacob  for  having  chosen  Rachel  for  her  beauty,  in 
preference  to  Lia.3 

These  are  the  instructions  which  the  pastor  will  communi-  Matrimony 

cate  to  the  faithful  on  the  subject  of  marriage,  as  a  natural  con-  ^  a  Sacra> 

,  ,          -11      i  •          •  j  *         merit,  su- 

tract :  as  a  sacrament  he  will  show  that  marriage  is  raised  to  a  perior  to 

superior  order,  and  referred  to  a  more  exalted  end.     The  ori-  the  natural 
giual  institution  of  marriage,  as  a  natural  contract,  had  for  object  contract- 
the  propagation  of  the  human  race  :    its  subsequent  elevation  to 

i  Tob.  vi.  16, 17, 18.  22.  2  i  Cor.  vii.  2.  »  Gen.  xxix. 


230  T/ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  dignity  of  a  sacrament  is  intended  for  the  procreation  and 
education  of  a  people  in  the  religion  and  worship  of  the  true 
Erempli-     God,   and   of  our  Lord  Jesus   Christ.     When  the  Redeemer 
rion'of      would  exemplify  the  close  union  that  subsists  between  him  and 
Christ  and   his  Church,  and  his  boundless  love  towards  us,  he  declares  this 
his  Church,  divine  mystery  principally  by  alluding  to  the  holy  union  of 
man  and  wife  ;  and  the  aptitude  of  the  illustration  is  evinced  by 
this,  that  of  all  human  relations  no  one  is  so  binding  as  that  of 
marriage,  and  those  who  stand  in  that  relation  are  united  in  the 
closest  bonds  of  affection  and  love.     Hence  the  Sacred  Scrip 
tures,  by  assimilating  it  to  marriage,  frequently  place  before  us 
this  divine  union  of  Christ  with  his  Church. 

Marriage  a  That  marriage  is  a  sacrament  has  been  at  all  times  held  by 
Sacrament  fae  church  as  a  certain  and  well  ascertained  truth ;  and  in  this 
she  is  supported  by  the  authority  of  the  Apostle  in  his  Epistle 
to  the  Ephesians  :  "  Husbands,"  says  he,  "  should  love  their 
wives,  as  their  own  bodies  :  he  who  loveth  his  wife,  loveth 
himself,  for  no  one  ever  hated  his  own  flesh,  but  nourisheth 
and  cherisheth  it,  even  as  Christ  doth  the  Church,  for  we  are 
members  of  his  body,  of  his  flesh,  and  of  his  bones.  For  this 
cause  shall  a  man  leave  his  father  and  mother,  and  shall  cleave 
to  his  wife,  and  they  shall  be  two  in  one  flesh.  This  is  a  great 
sacrament,  but  I  speak  in  Christ,  and  in  the  Church."1  When 
the  Apostle  says  :  "  This  is  a  great  sacrament,"  he  means,  no 
doubt,  to  designate  marriage;3  as  if  he  had  said:  The  conjuga™ 
union  between  man  and  wife,  of  which  God  is  the  author,  is  a 
sacrament,  that  is,  a  sacred  sign  of  the  holy  union  that  subsists 
between  Christ  and  his  Church.  That  this  is  the  true  meaning 
of  his  words  is  shown  by  the  Holy  Fathers  who  have  inter 
preted  the  passage  ;  and  the  Council  of  Trent  has  given  to  it 
the  same  interpretation.3  The  husband  therefore  is  evidently 
compared  by  the  Apostle  to  Christ,  the  wife  to  the  Church  ;* 
"the  man  is  head  of  the  woman,  as  Christ  is  of  the  Church;"3 
and  hence  the  husband  should  love  his  wife,  and  again,  the  wife 
should  love  and  respect  her  husband,  for  "  Christ  loved  his 
Church,  and  gave  himself  for  her;"  and  the  Church,  as  the 
same  Apostle  teaches,  is  subject  to  Christ. 

It  signifies  That  this  sacrament  signifies  and  confers  grace,  and  in  this 
*nd  confers  t^e  nature  of  a  sacrament  principally  consists,  we  learn  from 
these  words  of  the  Council  of  Trent:  "  The  grace  which  per 
fects  that  natural  love,  and  confirms  that  indissoluble  union, 
Christ  himself,  the  author  and  finisher  of  the  sacraments,  has 
merited  for  us  by  his  passion."8  The  faithful  are,  therefore, 
to  be  taught,  that,  united  in  the  bonds  of  mutual  love,  the  hus 
band  and  wife  are  enabled,  by  the  grace  of  this  sacrament,  to 
repose  in  each  other's  affections ;  to  reject  every  criminal  attach 
ment  ;  to  repel  every  inclination  to  unlawful  intercourse ;  and 

1  Eph.  v.  28. 

2  Tertull.  lib.  de  Monog.  Aug.  de  fide  et  oper.  c.  7.  lib.  de  nupt.  et  concup.  c. 
10.  et  12.  s  gess.  34.  4  Ambr.  in  epist.  ad  Ephes. 

a  Eph.  v.  23.  6  Sess.  24.  de  matrim. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  231 

in  every  thing  to  preserve  "  marriage  honourable,  and  the  bed 

The  great  superiority  of  the  sacrament  of  matrimony  to  those  Itssupe- 
marriages  which  took  place  before  or  after  the  Law,  we  may  noniyto 
learn  from  the  following  considerations — The  Gentiles,  it  is  and  Jewish 
true,  looked  upon  marriage  as  something  sacred,  and  therefore  marriage 
considered  promiscuous  intercourse  to  be  inconsistent  with  the 
law  of  nature :  they  also  held  that  fornication,  adultery,  and 
other  licentious  excesses  should  be  repressed  by  legal  sanctions  ; 
but  their  marriages  had  nothing  whatever  of  the  nature  of  a  sa 
crament.  Amongst  the  Jews  the  laws  of  marriage  were  observed 
with  more  religious  fidelity,  and  their  marriages,  no  doubt,  were 
more  holy.  Having  received  the  promise  that  in  the  seed  of 
Abraham  all  nations  should  be  blessed,2  it  was  justly  deemed  a 
matter  of  great  piety  amongst  them  to  beget  children,  the  off 
spring  of  a  chosen  people,  from  whom,  as  to  his  human  nature, 
Christ  our  Lord  and  Saviour  was  to  descend ;  but  their  marriage 
also  wanted  the  true  nature  of  a  Sacrament.  Of  this  it  is  a  fur 
ther  confirmation,  that  whether  we  consider  the  law  of  nature 
after  the  fall  of  Adam,  or  the  law  given  to  Moses,  we  at  once 
perceive  that  marriage  had  fallen  from  its  primitive  excellence 
and  sanctity.  Under  the  Law  of  Moses  we  find  that  many  of 
the  Patriarchs  had  several  wives  at  the  same  time,  and,  should 
a  cause  exist,  it  was  subsequently  permitted  to  dismiss  one's 
wife,  having  given  her  a  bill  of  divorce  ;3  both  of  which  abuses 
have  been  removed  by  the  Gospel  dispensation,  and  marriage 
restored  to  its  primitive  state. 

That  polygamy  is  opposed  to  the  nature  of  marriage  is  shown  Polygamy 
by  our  Lord  in  these  words :     "  For  this   cause  a  man  shall  opposed  to 
leave  father  and  mother,  and  cleave  to  his  wife,  and  they  two  on™*^0 
shall  be  in  one  flesh.     Therefore,"  continues  the  Redeemer,  riage. 
"  now  they  are  not  two  but  one  flesh."4    The  Patriarchs,  who, 
by  the  permission  of  God,  had  a  plurality  of  wives,  are  not  on 
that  account  to  be  condemned :    the  words  of  the  Redeemer, 
however,  clearly  show  that  marriage  was  instituted  by  God  as 
the  union  of  two  only ;    and  this  he  again  expressly  declares 
when  he  says  :     "  Whoever  shall  dismiss  his  wife,  and  shall 
marry  another,  doth  commit  adultery,  and  he  that  shall  marry 
her  that  is  dismissed,  committeth  adultery."5     If  a  plurality  of 
wives  be  lawful,  we  can  discover  no  more  reason  why  he  who 
marries  a  second  wife  whilst  he  retains  the  first  should  be  said 
to  be  guilty  of  adultery,  than  he  who,  having  dismissed  the  first, 
takes  to  himself  a  second.     Hence,  if  an  infidel,  in  accordance 
with  the  laws  and  customs  of  his  country,  has  married  several 
wives,  the  Church  commands  him,  when  converted  to  the  faith, 
to  look  upon  the  first  alone  as  his  lawful  wife,  and  to  separate 
from  the  others 

That  marriage  cannot  be  dissolved  by  divorce  is  easily  proved  Marriage 
from  the  same  testimony  of  our  Lord  :    if  by  a  bill  of  divorce  indissolu 

'  Heb.  xiii.  4.  2  Gen.  xxii.  18,  3  ])eut.  xxiv.  1.    Matt.  xix.  7. 

*  Matt.  xix.  9.  *  Matt.  xix.  9. 


quences  of 
its  iridisso- 




Three  ad 
from  mar 

Tlie,  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  matrimonial  link  were  dissolved,  the  wife  might  lawfully, 
and  without  the  guilt  of  adultery,  take  another  husband  ;  yet 
our  Lord  expressly  declares,  that  "  whoever  shall  dismiss  his 
wife,  and  marry  another,  committeth  adultery."1  The  bond  of 
marriage,  therefore,  can  be  dissolved  by  death  alone,  and  this 
the  Apostle  confirms  when  he  says  :  "  A  woman  is  bound  by 
the  law,  as  long  as  her  husband  liveth  ;  but  if  her  husband  die, 
she  is  at  liberty  :  let  her  marry  whom  she  will,  only  in  the  Lord." 
and  again  :  "  To  them  that  are  married,  not  I,  but  the  Lord 
commandeth,  that  the  wife  depart  not  from  her  husband,  and  if 
she  depart,  that  she  remain  unmarried  or  be  reconciled  to  her 
husband."8  Thus  to  her  who  has  separated  from  her  husband, 
even  for  a  just  cause,  the  only  alternative  left  by  the  Apostle  is 
to  remain  unmarried  or  be  reconciled  to  her  husband :  the 
Church,  unless  influenced  by  very  weighty  causes,  does  not 
sanction  the  separation  of  husband  and  wife. 

That  this  the  law  of  marriage  may  not  appear  too  rigorous,  its 
beneficial  consequences  are  to  be  presented  to  the  consideration 
of  the  faithful.  In  the  first  place,  they  should  know  that  the 
choice  of  a  companion  for  life  should  be  influenced  by  virtue 
and  congeniality  of  disposition,  rather  than  by  wealth  or  beauty ; 
a  consideration  which  confessedly  is  of  the  highest  practical  im 
portance  to  the  interests  of  society.  Besides,  if  marriage  were 
dissoluble  by  divorce,  married  persons  could  scarcely  ever 
want  causes  of  dissension,  which  the  inveterate  enemy  of  peace 
and  virtue  would  never  fail  to  supply  ;  whereas,  when  the  faith 
ful  reflect  that,  although  separated  as  to  bed  and  board,  they  are 
still  bound  by  the  tie  of  marriage,  and  that  all  hope  of  a  second 
marriage  is  cut  off,  they  are  more  slow  to  anger  and  more  averse 
to  dissension  ;  and  if  sometimes  separated,  feeling  the  many  in- 
conveniencies  that  attend  their  separation,  their  reconciliation  is 
easily  accomplished  through  the  intervention  of  friends.  Here, 
the  salutary  admonition  of  St.  Augustine  is  also  not  to  be  omit 
ted  by  the  pastor:  to  convince  the  faithful  that  they  should  not 
deem  it  a  hardship  to  be  reconciled  to  their  penitent  wives, 
whom  they  may  have  put  away  for  adultery.  "  Why,"  says 
he,  "  should  not  the  Christian  husband  receive  his  wife,  whom 
the  Church  receives  ?  Why  should  not  the  wife  pardon  her 
adulterous  but  penitent  husband,  whom  Christ  has  pardoned  ? 
When  the  Scriptures  call  him  who  keeps  an  adultress  '  a  fool,'3 
it  means  an  adultress  who  after  her  delinquency  refuses  to 
repent,  and  perseveres  in  the  career  of  turpitude  which  she 
had  commenced."4  In  perfection  and  dignity,  it  is  clear  there 
fore,  from  what  has  been  said,  that  marriage  amongst  the  Jews 
and  Gentiles  is  far  inferior  to  Christian  marriage. 

The  faithful  are  also  to  be  informed  that  there  are  three  ad 
vantages  which  arise  from  marriage,  offspring,  faith,  and  the 
sacrament ;  advantages  which  alleviate  those  evils  which  the 

•  Matt  xix.  8.    Luke  xiv.  18. 
4  Lib.  de  adult,  conjug.  c.  6.  et  9. 

2  1  Cor.  vii.  39. 

1  Prov.  rviii.  21 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  233 

Apostle  points  out  when  he  says  :  "  Such  shall  have  tribulation 
of  the  flesh  ;"*  and  which  render  that  intercourse,  which  with 
out  marriage  should  be  deservedly  reprobated,  an  honourable 
union.3  The  first  advantage,  then,  is  that  of  legitimate  oflf-  * 
spring  ;  an  advantage  so  highly  appreciated  by  the  Apostle, 
that  he  says  :  "  The  woman  shall  be  saved  through  child-bear 
ing."3  These  words  of  the  Apostle  are  not,  however,  to  be 
understood  to  refer  solely  to  the  procreation  of  children  :  they 
also  refer  to  the  discipline  and  education  by  which  children  are 
reared  to  piety;  for  the  Apostle  immediately  adds  :  "  If  she 
continue  in  faith."  "  Hast  thou  children,"  says  Ecclesias- 
ticus,  "  instruct  them  and  bow  down  their  neck  from  their 
childhood  :"*  the  same  important  lesson  is  inculcated  by  the 
Apostle ;  and  of  such  an  education  the  Scripture  affords  the 
most  beautiful  illustrations  in  the  persons  of  Tobias,  Job,  and 
of  other  characters  eminent  for  sanctity.  But  the  further  deve-  Note, 
lopment  of  the  duties  of  parents  and  children  we  reserve  for 
the  exposition  of  the  Fourth  Commandment. 

The  next  advantage  is  faith,  not  the  habitual  faith  infused  in  II 
baptism,  but  the  fidelity  which  the  husband  plights  to  the  wife 
and  the  wife  to  the  husband,  to  deliver  to  each  other  the  mutual 
dominion  of  their  persons,  and  to  preserve  inviolate  the  sacred 
engagements  of  marriage.  This  is  an  obvious  inference  from 
the  words  of  Adam  on  receiving  his  consort  Eve,  which,  as  the 
Gospel  informs  us,  the  Redeemer  has  sanctioned  by  his  appro 
bation :  "Wherefore,"  says  our  protoparent,  "a  man  shall 
leave  father  and  mother,  and  shall  cleave  to  his  wife  ;  and  they 
shall  be  two  in  one  flesh."5  Nor  are  the  words  of  the  Apostle 
less  explicit :  "  The  wife,"  says  he,  "  hath  not  power  of  her 
own  body;  but  the  husband."8  Hence  against  adultery,  be 
cause  it  violates  this  conjugal  faith,  the  Almighty  justly  decreed 
in  the  Old  Law  the  heaviest  chastisements.7  This  matrimonial 
faith  also  demands,  on  the  part  of  husband  and  wife,  a  singular, 
holy,  and  pure  love,  a  love  not  such  as  that  of  adulterers,  but 
such  as  that  which  Christ  cherishes  towards  his  Church.  This 
is  the  model  of  conjugal  love  proposed  by  the  Apostle  when 
he  says  :  "  Men,  love  your  wives,  as  Christ  also  loved  the 
Church."8  The  love  of  Christ  for  his  church  was  great,  not 
an  interested  love,  but  a  love  which  proposed  to  itself  the  sole 
happiness  of  his  spouse. 

The  third  advantage  is  called  the  sacrament,  that  is  the  indis-  UL 
soluble  tie  of  marriage  :  "  The  Lord,"  says  the  Apostle,  "  hath 
commanded  that  the  wife  depart  not  from  her  husband,  and  if 
she  depart,  that  she  remain  unmarried,  or  be  reconciled  to  her 
husband ;  and  that  the  husband  dismiss  not  his  wife."9  If,  as 
a  sacrament,  marriage  is  significant  of  the  union  of  Christ  with 
his  Church,  it  follows  that  as  Christ  never  separates  himself 

1  1  Cor.  yii.  28.  2  Vid.  Aug.  lib.  5.  contr.  Tul.  cap.  5.  3  1  Tim.  ii.  15. 

4  Eccl.  vii.  25.  5  Gen.  ii.  24.    Matt.  xix.  5.  6  i  Cor.  vii.  4. 

i  Num.  v.  12.  s  Ephes.  v.  25.  91  Cor  vii  10 
20*                                2  G 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

Duties  of  a 



from  his  Church,  so  a  wife,  as  far  as  regards  the  tie  of  marriage, 
can  never  be  separated  from  her  husband. 

The  more  easily  to  preserve  the  happiness  of  this  holy  union 
undisturbed  by  domestic  broils,  the  pastor  will  instruct  the  faith 
ful  in  the  duties  of  husband  and  wife,  as  inculcated  by  St. 
Paul  and  by  the  prince  of  the  Apostles.1  It  is  then  the  duty 
of  the  husband  to  treat  his  wife  liberally  and  honourably : 
it  should  not  be  forgotten  that  Eve  was  called  by  Adam  "  his 
companion :"  "  The  woman,"  says  he,  "  whom  thou  gavest 
me  as  a  companion."  Hence  it  was,  according  to  the  opinion 
of  some  of  the  Holy  Fathers,  that  she  was  formed  not  from  the 
feet  but  from  the  side  of  man ;  as,  on  the  other  hand,  she 
was  not  formed  from  his  head,  in  order  to  give  her  to  under 
stand  that  it  was  not  hers  to  command  but  to  obey  her  husband. 
The  husband  should  also  be  constantly  occupied  in  some  honest 
pursuit,  with  a  view  as  well  to  provide  necessaries  for  his  fa 
mily,  as  to  avoid  the  languor  of  idleness,  the  root  of  almost 
every  vice.  He  is  also  to  keep  all  his  family  in  order,  to  correct 
their  morals,  fix  their  respective  employments,  and  see  that  they 
Duties  of  a  discharge  them  with  fidelity.  On  the  other  hand,  the  duties  of 
a  wife  are  thus  summed  up  by  the  prince  of  the  Apostles  :  "  Let 
wives  be  subject  to  their  husbands  ;  that  if  any  believe  not  the 
word,  they  may  be  won  without  the  word,  by  the  conversation 
of  the  wives  ;  considering  your  chaste  conversation  with  fear : 
whose  adorning  let  it  not  be  the  outward  plaiting  of  the  hair, 
or  the  wearing  of  gold,  or  the  putting  on  of  apparel,  but  the 
hidden  man  of  the  heart  in  the  incorruptibility  of  a  quiet  and 
meek  spirit,  which  is  rich  in  the  sight  of  God.  For  after  this 
manner,  heretofore,  the  holy  women  also,  who  trusted  in  God, 
adorned  themselves,  being  in  subjection  to  their  own  husbands, 
as  Sarah  obeyed  Abraham,  calling  him  Lord."3  To  train  up 
their  children  in  the  practice  of  virtue,  and  to  pay  particular  at 
tention  to  their  domestic  concerns,  should  also  be  especial  ob 
jects  of  their  attention  and  study.  Unless  compelled  by  neces 
sity  to  go  abroad,  they  should  also  cheerfully  remain  at  home ; 
and  should  never  leave  home  without  the  permission  of  their 
husbands.  Again,  and  in  this  the  conjugal  union  chiefly  con 
sists,  let  them  never  forget  that,  next  to  God,  they  are  to  love 
their  husbands,  to  esteem  them  above  all  others,  yielding  to 
them,  in  all  things  not  inconsistent  with  Christian  piety,  a  will 
ing  and  obsequious  obedience. 

Having  explained  these  matters,  the  pastor  will  next  proceed 
to  instruct  his  people  in  the  rites  to  be  observed  in  the  admini 
stration  of  marriage.  Here,  however,  it  is  not  to  be  supposed 
that  we  give  in  detail  the  laws  that  regulate  marriage  :  these 
have  been  accurately  fixed,  and  are  detailed  at  large  in  the  de 
cree  of  the  Council  of  Trent  on  marriage,  a  decree  with  which 
the  pastor  cannot  be  unacquainted.  Here,  therefore,  it  will  suf- 




Rites  ob 
served  ir 
the  admi 
of  mar 

1  Vid.  Aug.  lib.  1.  de  adult  conjug.  c.  21  et  22.  et  de  bono  conjug.  car.  7.  et  con- 
cupis.  lib.  1.  c.  10.  2  1  pet.  iii.  1,  2. 

On  the  Sacrament  of  Matrimony.  235 

fice  to  admonish   him  to  study  to  make  himself  acquainted, 
from  the  doctrine  of  the  Council,  with  what  regards  this  sub 
ject,  and  to  make  it  a  matter  of  assiduous  exposition  to  the 
But  above  all,  lest  young  persons,  and  youth  is  a  period  of  Youth  to  be 

life  marked  by  extreme  weakness  and  indiscretion,  deceived  bv  ""Jmonish- 
*  .          ,.    ,  c  .  ,      .     "    ed   on   the 

the  specious  but  misapplied  name  01  marriage,  may  rush   into  subject  of 

hasty  engagements,  the   result  of  criminal  passion ;  the  pastor  marriage, 
cannot  too  frequently  remind  them  that,  without  the   presence 
of  the  parish-priest,  or  of  some  other  priest  commissioned  by 
him  or  by  the  ordinary,  and  that  of  two  or  three   witnesses, 
there  can  be  no  marriage. 

The  impediments   of  marriage  are  also  to  be  explained,  a  The  impe- 
subject  so  minutely  and  accurately  treated  by  many  writers  on  din>ents  of 
morality,  of  grave  authority  and  profound  erudition,  as  to  ren-  ra 
der  it  an  easy  task  to  the  pastor  to  draw  upon  their  labours, 
particularly  as  he  has  occasion  to  have  such  works  continually 
in  his  hands.     The  instructions,  therefore,  which  they  contain, 
and  also  the  decrees  of  the  Council  with  regard  to  the  impedi 
ments  arising  from  "spiritual  affinity,"   from  "the  justice  of 
public   honesty,"    and  from     "  fornication,"    the    pastor    will 
peruse  with  attention  and  expound  with  care  and  accuracy. 

The  faithful  may  hence  learn  the  dispositions  with  which  they  The  'dispo- 
should   approach  the  sacrament  of  marriage :  they  should  con-  siVonL  v>1?1 
sider  themselves  as  about  to  engage,  not  in  a  human  work,  but  sacrament 
in  a  divine   ordinance ;  and  the  example  of  the  Fathers  of  the  of  marriage 
Old  Law,  by  whom  marriage,  although  not  raised  to  the  dignity  ^°  ^ 
of  a  sacrament,  was  deemed  a  most  holy  and  religious  rite, 
evinces   the  singular   purity   of  soul  and  sentiments  of  piety, 
with  which  Christians  should  approach  so  holy  a  sacrament. 

But,  amongst  many  other  matters  there  is  one  which  demands  ciandes- 
the  zealous  exhortation  of  the  pastor,  it  is,  that  children  pay  it  as  &ne  mar- 
a  tribute  of  respect  due  to  their  parents,  or  to  those  under  whose  nage- 
guardianship  and  authority  they  are  placed,  not  to  engage  in 
marriage  without  their  knowledge,  still  less  in  defiance  of  their 
express    wishes.     In    the    Old  Law   children  were  uniformly 
given  in  marriage  by  their  parents ;  and  that  the  will  of  the 
parent  is  always  to  have  very  great  influence  on  the  choice  of 
the  child,  is  clear  from  these  words  of  the  Apostle :    "  He  that 
giveth  his  virgin  in  marriage  doth  well ;  and  he  that  giveth  her 
not,  doth  better."3 

Finally,  with  regard  to  the  use  of  marriage,  this  is  a  subject  Twoles- 
which  the  pastor  will  approach  with  becoming  delicacy,  avoid-  sons  °f  in 



ing  the  use  of  any  expression  that  may  be  unfit  to  meet  the  which__ 
ears  of  the  faithful,  that  may  be  calculated  to  offend  the  piety  gard  the 
of  some,  or  excite  the  laughter  of  others.     "The  words  of  the  u.seof  mar> 
Lord    are    chaste  words  ;"8  and  the    teachers   of   a  Christian  nage' 
people  should  make  use  of  no  language  that  is  not  characterized 
by  gravity,  and  that  does  not  breathe  purity  of  soul.     Two  les- 

1  Sess.  24.  decret  de  reformat,  matrimon.  2  1  Cor.  vii.  38.  s  Pa.  xi.  7. 

236  TJie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

sons  of  instruction  are,  then,  to  be  specially  pressed  upon  the 
I.  attention  of  the  faithful :  the  first,  that  marriage  is  not  to  be 
sought  from  motives  of  sensuality,  but  that  its  use  is  to  be  re 
strained  within  those  limits,  which,  as  we  have  already  shown, 
are  fixed  by  God.  They  should  be  mindful  of  the  exhortation 
of  the  Apostle  :  "  They,"  says  he,  "  that  have  wives,  let  them 
be  as  though  they  had  them  not."1  The  words  of  St.  Jerome 
are  also  worthy  of  attention  :  "  the  love,"  says  he,  "  which  a 
wise  man  cherishes  towards  his  wife,  is  the  result  of  judgment, 
not  the  impulse  of  passion :  he  governs  the  impetuosity  of  de 
sire,  and  is  not  hurried  into  indulgence.  What  greater  turpi 
tude  than  that  a  husband  should  love  his  wife,  as  the  seducer 
IL  loves  the  adulteress."9  But  as  every  blessing  is  to  be  obtained 
from  God  by  holy  prayer,  the  faithful  are  also  to  be  taught 
sometimes  to  abstain  from  the  marriage  debt,  in  order  to  devote 
themselves  to  prayer.  This  religion  continence,  according  to 
the  proper  and  pious  injunction  of  our  predecessors  in  the  faith, 
is  particularly  to  be  observed  for  at  least  three  days  previous  to 
communion,  and  for  a  longer  time  during  the  solemn  and  peni 
tential  season  of  Lent.  Thus  will  the  faithful  experience  the 
blessings  of  the  holy  state  of  marriage  by  a  constantly  increasing 
accumulation  of  divine  grace ;  and  living  in  the  pursuit  and 
practice  of  piety,  they  will  not  only  spend  this  mortal  life  in 
peace  and  tranquillity,  but  will  also  repose  in  the  true  and  firm 
hope,  "  which  confoundeth  not,"3  of  arriving  one  day,  through 
the  divine  goodness,  at  the  fruition  of  that  life  which  is  eternal.4 

'  1  Cor.  vii.  29.  2  S.  Hier.  lib.  1.  contra.  lovian.  in  fine.  3  Rom.  v.  5. 

«  Vid.  33.  q.  4.  per  totan  et  de  consecr.  dist.  2.  cap.  omnis  homo.  Hier.  in  apol. 
pro  lihris  contra  lovian.  post  medium  inter  epist.  num.  50.  et  in  c.  12.  Zach.  super, 
iliud :  "  In  die  planctus  magnus  erit  fructus  thori  immaculati." 







THAT  the  Decalogue  is  an  epitome  of  the  entire  law  of  God  The  Deca 
is  the  recorded  opinion  of  St.  Augustine.1    The  Lord,  it  is  true,  l°gue  an 
had  uttered  many  things  for  the  instruction  and  guidance  of  his  fheentire' 
people  ;  yet  two  tables  only  were  given  to  Moses.     They  were  lawofGod 
made  of  stone,  and  were  called  "  the  tables  of  the  testimony," 
and  were  to  be  deposited  in  the  ark ;  and  on  them,  if  minutely 
examined  and  well  understood,  will  be  found  to  hinge  whatever 
else  is  commanded  by  God.     Again,  these  ten  commandments 
are  reducible  to  two,  the  love  of  God  and  of  our  neighbour,  on 
which  "  depend  the  whole  Law  and  the  Prophets."3 

Imbodying  then,  as  the  Decalogue  does,  the  whole  Law,  it  TO  be  care- 
is  the  imperative  duty  of  the  pastor  to  give  his  days  and  nights  fully  stu- 
to  its  consideration ;  and  to  this  he  should  be  prompted  by  a 
desire  not  only  to  regulate  his  own  life  by  its  precepts,  but  also 
to  instruct  in  the  law  of  God  the  people  committed  to  his  care.  tor- 
"The  lips  of  the  priest,"  says  Malachy,  "shall  keep  know 
ledge,  and  they  shall  seek  the  law  at  his  mouth,  because  he  is 
the  angel  of  the  Lord  of  Hosts."8  To  the  priests  of  the  New 
Law  this  injunction  applies  in  a  special  manner;  they  are 
nearer  to  God,  and  should  be  "  transformed  from  glory  to  glory 
as  by  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord."4  Christ  our  Lord  has  said  that 
they  are  "  the  light  of  the  world  :"s  they  should,  therefore,  be 
"  a  light  to  them  that  are  in  darkness,  the  instructors  of  the 
foolish,  the  teachers  of  infants  ;"8  and  "  if  a  man  be  over 
taken  in  any  fault,  those  who  are  spiritual  should  instruct  such 
a  one."7  In  the  tribunal  of  penance  the  priest  holds  the  place 
of  a  judge,  and  pronounces  sentence  according  to  the  nature  of 
the  offence.  Unless,  therefore,  he  is  desirous  that  his  ignorance 

1  Qtisestio  140.  super  Exod.        2  Matt.  ixii.  40.        *Mal.  ii.  7.         <2Cor.  ui  18 
»  Matt.  v.  14.  «  Rom.  ii.  19,  20.      T  Gal.  vi.  1 


238  Tlie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

should  prove  an  injury  to  himself,  and  an  injustice  to  others,  he 
must  bring  with  him  to  the  discharge  of  this  duty,  the  greatest 
vigilance,  and  the  most  intimate  and  practised  acquaintance 
with  the  interpretation  of  the  Law,  in  order  to  he  able  to  pro 
nounce  according  to  this  divine  rule  on  every  omission  and 
commission ;  and  that,  as  the  Apostle  says,  he  teach  sound 
doctrine,1  doctrine  free  from  error,  and  heal  the  diseases  of  the 
soul,  which  are  the  sins  of  the  people,  that  they  may  be  "ac 
ceptable  to  God,  pursuers  of  good  works."3 

Motivesfor  ^n  *ne  discharge  of  this  duty  of  instruction,  the  pastor  will 
its  observ-  propose  to  himself  and  to  others  such  considerations,  as  may 
ftnce-  be  best  calculated  to  impress  upon  the  mind  the  conviction,  that 
obedience  to  the  law  of  God  is  the  duty  of  every  man ;  and  if 
in  the  Law  there  are  many  motives  to  stimulate  to  its  ob 
servance,  there  is  one  which  of  all  others  is  powerfully  im 
pressive — it  is,  that  God  is  its  author.  True,  it  is  said  to  have 
been  delivered  by  angels,3  but  its  author,  we  repeat,  is  God. 
Thus,  not  only  the  words  of  the  Legislator  himself,  which  we 
shall  subsequently  explain,  but  also,  innumerable  other  pas 
sages  of  Scripture,  which  the  memory  of  the  pastor  will  readily 
supply,  bear  ample  testimony.  Who  is  not  conscious  that  a 
law  is  inscribed  on  his  heart  by  the  finger  of  God,  teaching 
him  to  distinguish  good  from  evil,  vice  from  virtue,  justice  from 
injustice  ?  The  force  and  import  of  this  unwritten  law  do 
not  conflict  with  that  which  is  written.  How  unreasonable 
then  to  deny  that  God  is  the  author  of  the  written,  as  he  is  of 
the  unwritten  law. 

The  writ-        But,  lest  the  people,  aware  of  the  abrogation  of  the  Mosaic 
ten  law,      Law,  may  imagine  that  the  precepts  of  the  Decalogue  are  no 
why  given.  }onger  obligatory,  the  pastor  will  inform  them,  that  these  pre 
cepts  were  not  delivered  as  new  laws,  but  rather  as  a  renewal 
*nd  development  of  the  law  of  nature:  its  divine  light,  which 
was  obscured  and  almost  extinguished  by  the  crimes  and  the  per 
versity  of  man,  shines  forth  in  this  celestial  code  with  increased 
Note>          and  renovated  splendour.     The  Ten  Commandments,  however, 
we  are  not  bound  to  obey  because  delivered  by  Moses,  but  be 
cause  they  are  so  many  precepts  of  the  natural  law,  and  have 
been  explained  and  confirmed  by  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 
Considera-       But  it  must  prove  a  most  powerful  and  persuasive  argument 
tions  calcu-  for  enforcing  its  observance,  to  reflect  that  the  founder  of  the 
force  hsob-  ^aw  *s  no  ^ess  a  Person  tnan  God  himself — that  God  whose 
servance.     wisdom  and  justice  we  mortals  cannot  question — whose  power 
J-         and  might  we  cannot  elude.     Hence,  we  find  that  when  by  his 
prophet,  he  commands  the  Law  to  be  observed,  he  proclaims 
that  he  is  "  the  Lord  God."     The  Decalogue,  also,  opens  with 
the  same  solemn  admonition :  "  I  am  the  Lord  thy  God  ;"4  and 
in  Malachy  we  read  the  indignant  interrogatory :  "  If  I  am  a 
master,  where  is  my  fear?"5    That  God  has  vouchsafed  to  give 
rj         us  a  transcript  of  his  holy  will,  on  which  depends  our  eternal 

i  2  Tim.  iv.  3.      2  Tit.  ii.  14.      =»  Gal.  iii.  19.      *  Exod.  xx.  2.      *  Malach.  i.  6. 

On  the  Decalogue.  23& 

salvation,  is  a  consideration  which,  besides  animating  the  faith 
ful  to  the  observance  of  his  commandments,  must  call  forth  the 
expression  of  their  grateful  homage  in  return  for  his  beneficent 
condescension.  Hence  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  in  more  pas 
sages  than  one,  setting  forth  this  invaluable  blessing,  admonish 
us  to  know  our  own  dignity,  and  to  appreciate  the  divine 
bounty:  "This,"  says  Moses,  "is  your  wisdom  and  under 
standing  in  the  sight  of  nations,  that  hearing  all  these  precepts 
they  may  say :  '  behold  a  wise  and  understanding  people,  a 
great  nation  ;'  "*  "  He  hath  not  done  in  like  manner  to  every 
nation  ;"  says  the  royal  psalmist,  "  and  his  judgments  he  hath 
not  made  manifest  to  them."3 

The  circumstances  which  accompanied  the  promulgation  of  The  cir- 

the  Law,  as  recorded  in  the  Sacred  Volumes,  also  demand  the  cums1??- 
„    .  ces  which 

attention  ot  the  pastor;  they  are  well  calculated  to  convey  to  attended 

the  minds  of  the  faithful  an  idea  of  the  piety  and  humility  with  it8  promul 
which  they  should  receive  and  reverence  a  Law  delivered  by  8aUon- 
God  himself. — Three  days  previous  to  its  promulgation,  was 
announced  to  the  peopte  the  divine  command,  to  wash  their 
garments,  to  abstain  from  conjugal  intercourse,  in  order  that 
they  may  be  more  holy  and  better  prepared  to  receive  the  Law, 
and  on  the  third  day  to  be  in  readiness  to  hear  its  awful  an 
nouncement.  When  they  had  reached  the  mountain  from 
which  the  Lord  was  to  deliver  the  Law  by  Moses,  Moses 
alone  was  commanded  to  ascend ;  and  the  Lord  descending 
from  on  high  with  great  majesty,  filling  the  mount  with  thun 
der  and  lightning,  with  fire  and  dense  clouds ;  spoke  to  Moses, 
and  delivered  to  him  the  Law.3  In  this  the  divine  wisdom  had  Note, 
solely  for  object  to  admonish  us  to  receive  his  Law  with  pure 
and  humble  minds,  and  to  impress  the  salutary  truth,  that  over 
the  neglect  of  his  commands  impend  the  heaviest  chastisements 
of  the  divine  justice. 

The  pastor  will  also  teach  that  the  commandments  of  God  Itsobser* 
are  not  difficult  of  observance,  as  these  words  of  St.  Augustine  ance> 
are  alone  sufficient  to  show :  "  How,  I  ask,  is  it  said  to  be  im-  easy' 
possible  for  man  to  love — to  love,  I  say,  a  beneficent  Creator, 
a  most  loving  Father,  and  also,  in  the  persons  of  his  brethren, 
to  love  his  own  flesh  ?  Yet,4  '  he  who  loveth  has  fulfilled  the 
Law.'  "5  Hence,  the  Apostle  St.  John  expressly  says,  that 
"  the  commandments  of  God  are  not  heavy?"8  for,  as  St.  Ber 
nard  observes,  "  no  duty  more  just  could  be  exacted  from  man, 
none  that  could  confer  on  him  a  more  exalted  dignity,  none  that 
could  contribute  more  largely  to  his  own  interests."7  Hence 
in  this  pio^s  effusion  addressed  to  the  Deity  himself,  St.  Augus 
tine  expresses  his  admiration  of  his  infinite  bounty  :  "  What," 
says  he,  "  is  man  thou  wouldst  be  loved  by  him  ?  And  if  ne 
loves  thee  not,  thou  threatenest  him  with  heavy  punishment — Is 
it  not  punishment  enough  that  I  love  thee  not!" 

i  Dent  iv.  6.  2  ps.  cxlvii.  20.  3  Exod.  xix.  10.  et  seq. 

*  Aug.  serm.  47.  de  temp.  6  Rom.  xiii.  8.  6  1  John  v.  3. 

»  Lib.  de  diligendo  Deo,  lib.  1.  Confess,  c.  5. 


Human  in 
firmity  no 
plea  for  its 

All  bound 
to  obey  its 


Fruits  of 
its  observ 

T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

But  should  any  one  plead  human  infirmity  to  exculpate  him 
self  from  not  loving  God,  it  is  not  to  be  forgotten  that  he  who 
demands  our  love  "  pours  into  our  hearts  by  the  Holy  Ghost" 
the  fervour  of  his  love,1  "  and  this  good  Spirit  our  Heavenly 
Father  gives  to  those  that  ask  him."8  "  Give  what  thou  com- 
mandest,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  and  command  what  thou  plea- 
sest."3  As  then,  God  is  ever  ready  by  his  divine  assistance  to 
sustain  our  weakness,  especially  since  the  death  of  Christ  the 
Lord,  by  which  the  prince  of  this  world  was  cast  out ;  there  is 
no  reason  why  we  should  be  disheartened  by  the  difficulty  of 
the  undertaking ;  to  him  who  loves,  nothing  is  difficult.4 

To  show  that  we  are  all  laid  under  the  necessity  of  obeying 
the  Law  is  a  consideration,  which  must  possess  additional 
weight  in  the  enforcement  of  its  observance  ;  and  it  becomes 
the  more  necessary  to  dwell  on  this  particular  in  these  our  days, 
when  there  are  not  wanting  those  who,  to  the  serious  injury  of 
their  own  souls,  have  the  impious  hardihood  to  assert  that  the 
observance  of  the  Law,  whether  easy  or  difficult,  is  by  no 
means  necessary  to  salvation.  This  wicked  and  impious  error 
the  pastor  will  .refute  from  Scripture,  by  the  authority  of  which 
they  endeavour  to  defend  their  impious  doctrine.  What  then 
are  the  words  of  the  Apostle  ?  "  Circumcision  is  nothing,  and 
uncircumcision  is  nothing,  but  the  keeping  of  the  command 
ments  of  God."5  Again,  inculcating  the  same  doctrine,  he  says : 
"A  new  creature,  in  Christ,  alone  avails;"8  by  a  "new  crea 
ture,"  evidently  meaning  him  who  observes  the  commandments 
of  God;  for,  as  our  Lord  himself  testifies  in  St.  John,  he  who 
observes  the  commandments  of  God  loves  God  :  "  If  any  one 
love  me,"  says  the  Redeemer,  "  he  will  keep  my  word."7 
A  man,  it  is  true,  may  be  justified,  and  from  wicked  may  be 
come  righteous,  before  he  has  fulfilled  by  external  acts  each  of 
the  divine  commandments ;  but  no  one  who  has  arrived  at  the 
use  of  reason,  unless  sincerely  disposed  to  observe  them  all,  can 
be  justified. 

Finally,  to  leave  nothing  unsaid  that  may  be  calculated  to 
induce  to  an  observance  of  the  Law,  the  pastor  will  point  out 
how  abundant  and  sweet  are  its  fruits.  This  he  will  easily  ac 
complish  by  referring  to  the  eighteenth  psalm,  which  celebrates 
the  praises  of  the  divine  Law,  amongst  which  its  highest  eulogy 
is,  that  it  proclaims  more  eloquently  the  glory  and  the  majesty 
of  God  than  even  the  celestial  orbs,  which  by  their  beauty  and 
order,  excite  the  admiration  of  the  most  barbarous  nations,  and 
compel  them  to  acknowledge  and  proclaim  the  glory,  the  wis 
dom,  and  the  power  of  the  Creator  and  Architect  of  the  uni 
verse.  "  The  Law  of  the  Lord"  also  "  converts  souls :" 
knowing  the  ways  of  God  and  his  holy  will  through  the  me 
dium  of  his  Law,  we  learn  to  walk  in  the  way  of  the  Lord.  It 

'  Rom.  v.  5.  2  Luke  ii.  13. 

»  Lib.  10.  confess,  c.  29.  31  et  37.    Item  de  bono  persever.  c.  20. 

«  Aug.  in  Ps.  iii.  Bom.  Serm.  de  Dom.  in  ramis  palm,  item  in  serm.  de  Magdal. 

>  1  Cor.  vii.  19,  «  Gal.  vi.  15.  7  John  xiv.  21.  23. 

On  the  First  Commandment.  241 

also,  "  gives  wisdom  to  little  ones  r"1  they  alone  who  fear  God 
are  truly  wise.  Hence,  the  observers  of  the  Law  of  God  are 
filled  with  a  profusion  of  pure  delights,  are  enlightened  by  the 
knowledge  of  the  divine  mysteries,  and  are  blessed  with  an  ac 
cumulation  of  pleasures  and  rewards  as  well  in  this  life,  as  in 
the  life  to  come. 

In  our  observance  of  the  Law,   however,  we  should  not  be  To  he  ob- 
actuated  so  much  by  a  sense  of  our  own  advantage  as  by  a  re-  se£ve(1 for 
gard  for  the  holy  will  of  God,  unfolded  to  man  by  the  promul-  God. 
gation  of  his  Law :  if  the  irrational  part  of  creation  is  obedient 
to  this  his  sovereign  will,  how  much  more  reasonable  that  man 
should  live  in  subjection  to  its  dictate  ? 

A  further  consideration  which  cannot  fail  to  arrest  our  atten-  A  great 
tion,  is,  that  God  has  j^re-eminently  displayed  his  clemency  and  ™™£^ 
the  riches  of  his  bounty  in  this,  that  whilst  he  might  have  com-  its  observ 
manded  our  service  without  a  reward,  he  has,  notwithstanding,  ai>ce. 
deigned  to  identify  his  own  glory  with  our  advantage,  thus  ren 
dering  what  tends  to  his  honour,  conducive  to  our  interests. 
This  is  a  consideration  of  the   highest  importance,   and   one 
which  proclaims  aloud  the  goodness  of  God.     The  pastor  then 
will  not  fail  to  impress  on  the  minds  of  the  faithful  this  salutary 
truth,  telling  them  in  the  language  of  the  prophet  whom  we 
have  last  quoted,  that  "  in  keeping  the  commandments  of  God 
there  is  a  great  reward."3     Not  only  are  we  promised  those 
blessings  which  seem  to  have  reference  to  earthly  happiness, 
to  be  "  blessed  in  the  city,  and  blessed  in  the  field  ;"3  but  we 
are  also  promised  "  a  very  great  reward  in  heaven,"4  "  good 
measure,  pressed  down,  shaken  together,  and  running  over,"-11 
which,  aided  by  the  divine  mercy,  we   merit  by  our  actions 
when  recommended  by  piety  and  justice. 



THE  law  announced  in  the  Decalogue,  although  delivered  to  The  wordi 
the  Jews  by  the  Lord  from  the  summit  of  Sinai,  was  originally  of  tlie  law- 
written  by  the  finger  of  nature  on'the  heart  of  man,7  and  was  f0'rd  '^ *£*' 
therefore  rendered  obligatory  on  mankind  at  all  times  by  the  people  of 
Author  of  nature.  It  will,  however,  be  found  very  salutary  to  Israel. to  b« 
explain  with  minute  attention  the  words  in  which  it  was  pro-  expai 

i  Ps.  xviii.  8.  2  ps.  xviii.  12.  3  rjeut.  xxviii.  ?  <  Matt  v.  12. 

*Lukevi.38.          6  Exod.  xx,  2.  "  Rom.  i.  19,20. 

21  2  H 

i24£  The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

claimed  to  the  people  of  Israel  by  Moses,  its  minister  and  inter 
preter,  and  to  present  to  the  faithful  an  epitome  of  the  myste 
rious  economy  of  Providence  towards  that  people. 

An  epi-  The  pastor  will  first  show,  that  from  amongst  the  nations  of 

'h"10  h^       ^e  eartn'   God   chose   one  which  descended  from  Abraham  ; 
to^'   '        that  it  was  the  divine  will  that  Abraham  should  be  a  stranger 
in  the  land  of  Canaan,  the  possession  of  which  he  had  promised 
him ;  and  that,  although  for  more  than  forty  years  he  and  his 
posterity  were  wanderers,  before  they  obtained  possession  of 
the  land,  God  withdrew  not  from  them  his   protecting  care. 
"  They  passed  from  nation  to  nation  and  from  one  kingdom  to 
another  people  ;  he  suffered  no  man  to  hurt  them,  and  he  re 
proved  kings  for  their  sakes."1     Before  they  went  down   into 
Egypt,  he  sent  before  them  one  by  whose  prudence  they  and 
the  people  of  Egypt  were  rescued  from  famine.      In   Egypt 
such  was  his  paternal  kindness   towards   them,  that  although 
opposed  by  the  power  of  Pharaoh  who  sought  their  destruction, 
they  increased  to  an  extraordinary  degree ;  and  when  severely 
harassed  and  cruelly  treated  as  slaves,  he  raised  up  Moses  as  a 
leader  to  conduct  them  from  bondage  with  a  strong  hand — This 
their  deliverance  is  particularly  referred  to  in   these  opening 
words  of  the  Law;     "I  am  the  Lord  thy  God  who  brought 
thee  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  out  of  the  house  of  bondage." 
The  people      Having  premised  this  brief  sketch  of  the  history  of  the  peo- 
of  Israel,      ple  of  Israel,  the  pastor  will  not  omit  to   observe,  that  from 
^byGod.  amongst  the  nations  of  the  earth  one  was  chosen  by  Almighty 
God  whom  he  called  "  his  people,"  and  by  whom  he  would 
be  known  and  worshipped  ;a  not  that  they  were   superior  to 
other  nations  in  justice  or  in  numbers,  and  of  this  God  him 
self  reminds  them,  but  because,  by  the  multiplication  and  ag 
grandizement  of  an  inconsiderable  and  impoverished  nation, 
he  would  display  to  mankind  the  extent  of  his  power  and  the 
riches  of  his  goodness.     Such  having  been  the  circumstances 
of  the  Jewish  nation,    "  He  was  closely  joined  to  them,  and 
loved  them,"3  and   Lord  of  heaven  and  earth   as  he  was,  he 
disdained  not  to  be  called  "  their  God."     The  other  nations 
were    thus    to    be    excited   to   a   holy   emulation,  that   seeing 
the  superior  happiness  of  the  Israelites,  mankind  might  em 
brace  the   worship  of  the  true  God;  as  St.  Paul  says  that  by 
placing  before   them   the    happiness  of  the   Gentiles  and  the 
knowledge  of  the  true  God,   "  he  provoked  to  emulation  those 
who  were  his  own  flesh."4 

The  Israel-       The  pastor  will  next  inform  the  faithful  that  God  suffered 
ites  why      fae  Hebrew  Fathers  to  wander  for  so  long  a  time,  and  their 
to°sufhed    posterity  to  be  oppressed  and  harassed  by  a  galling  servitude 
trials.          in  order  to  teach  us,  that  to  be  friends  of  God  we  must  be  ene 
mies  of  the  world,  and  pilgrims  in  this  vale  of  tears ;  that  an 
entire  detachment  from  the  world  gives  us  an  easier  access  to 
the  friendship  of  God;  and  that  admitted  to  his  friendship  we. 

i  Ps.  civ.  11.  2  Deut.  vii.  6,  7.  3  Deut.  x.  1 5.  «  Rom.  xi .  1 4. 

On  the  First  Commandment.  243 

may  experience  the  superior  happiness  enjoyed  by  those  who 
serve  God  rather  than  the  world.  This  is  the  solemn  admoni 
tion  of  God  himself:  "  yet  they  shall  serve  him,  that  they 
may  know  the  difference  between  my  service  and  the  service 
of  a  kingdom  of  the  earth."1 

The  pastor  will  also  remind  the  faithful  that  God  delayed  The  fulfil- 
the  fulfilment  of  his  promise  until  after  the  lapse  of  more  than  [^"n^pri^ 
four  hundred  years,  in  order  that  the  Israelites  might  be  sus-  mises»why 
tained  by  faith  and  hope  ;  for,  as  we  shall  show  more  particu-  !°  Ion8  dp 
larly  when  we  come  to  explain  the  First  Commandment,  God 
will  have  his  children  centre  all  their  hopes  and  repose  all  their 
confidence  in  his  goodness. 

Finally,  the  time  and  place,  when  and  where  the  people  of  The  time 
Israel    received    this  law,  deserve  particular  attention.      They  j1,"^^6 
received  it  when,  having  been  delivered  from   the  bondage  of  the  law 
Egypt,  they  had  come  into  the  wilderness ;  in  order,  that  im-  vvas  deli- 
pressed  with  a  lively  sense  of  gratitude  for  a  blessing  still  fresh  chosen"*  J 
in  their  recollection,  and  awed  by  the  dreariness  of  the  wild 
waste  in  which  they  journeyed,  they  might   be  the  better  dis 
posed  to  receive  the  law.     To  those  whose  bounty  we  have 
experienced  we  are   bound  by  ties  of  reciprocity ;  and  when 
man  has  lost  all  hope  of  assistance  from  his  fellow  man,  he 
then   seeks  refuge  in  the  protection  of  God.     We  are  hence  jvjote 
given   to  understand,   that  the  more  detached  the  faithful  are 
from  the  allurements  of  the  world,  and  the  pleasures  of  sense, 
the  more  disposed  are  they  to  lend  a  willing  ear  to  the  doc 
trines  of  salvation  :   "  whom  shall  he  teach  knowledge,"  says 
Isaias,   "and  whom  shall  he  make  to  understand  the  hearing? 
Them  that  are  weaned  from  the  milk,  that  are  drawn  away 
from  the  breasts."3 

The  pastor,  then,  will  use  his  best  endeavours  to  induce  the  Opening 
faithful  to  keep  continually  in  view   these  words,  "  I  am  the  ^oriLs  0< 
Lord  thy  God."     From  them   they  will  learn  that  he  who  is  bgue 
their  Creator  and  conservator,  by  whom  they  were  made,  and 
are  preserved,  is  also  their  legislator,  and  that  they  may  truly 
say  with  the  Psalmist:  "  He  is  the  Lord  our  God,  and  we  are 
the  people  of  his  pasture    and  the  sheep  of  his  hand."3     The 
frequent  and  earnest  inculcation  of  these  words  will  also  serve 
to  induce  the  faithful  to  a  more  willing  observance  of  the  law, 
and  a  more  cautious  abstinence  from  sin. 

The  words,  "  who  brought  thee  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt  A  strong 
and  the  house  of  bondage,"  come  next  in  order ;  and,  whilst  incentive 
they  seem  to  relate  solely  to  the  Jews  liberated  from  the  bond- 
age  of  Egypt,  are,  if  considered  in  their  implicit  reference  to 
universal  salvation,  still  more  applicable  to  Christians,  who  are 
liberated,  not  from  the  bondage  of  Egypt,  but  from  the  slavery 
of  sin,  and  "  the  power  of  darkness,  and  are  translated  into  the 
kingdom  of  his  beloved  Son."4  Contemplating  in  the  vision 
of  prophecy  the  magnitude  of  this  favour,  the  prophet  Jere- 

1  2  Par.  xii.  8.  2  Isa.  xxviii.  9.  3  Ps.  xciv.  7.  *  Col.  i.  13. 

244  T7ie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

miah  exclaims:  "  behold  the  days  come,  saith  the  Lord,  when 
it  shall  be  said  no  more :  the  Lord  liveth  that  brought  forth  the 
children  of  Israel  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt ;  but  the  Lord  liveth 
that  brought  the  children  of  Israel  out  of  the  land  of  the  North 
and  out  of  all  the  lands  to  which  I  cast  them  out ;  and  I  will 
bring  them  again  into  their  land  which  I  gave  to  their  Fathers. 
Behold,  I  will  send  many  fishes,  saith  the  Lord,  and  they  shall 
fish  them,  &C."1  Our  most  indulgent  Father  has  "  gathered 
together"  through  his  beloved  Son,  his  "children  that  were 
dispersed,"*  that,  "being made  free  from  sin  and  made  the  ser 
vants  of  justice,"3  "  we  may  serve  before  him  in  holiness  and 
justice  all  our  days."4  Against  every  temptation,  therefore, 
the  faithful  should  arm  themselves  with  these  words  of  the 
Apostle  as  with  a  shield :  "  shall  we  who  are  dead  to  sin  live 
any  longer  therein?"5  We  are  no  longer  our  own:  we  are 
his  who  died  and  rose  again  for  us:  he  is  the  Lord  our  God 
who  has  purchased  us  for  himself  at  the  price  of  his  blood. 
Shall  we  then  be  any  longer  capable  of  sinning  against  the 
Lord  our  God,  and  crucifying  him  again  ?  Being  made  truly 
free,  and  with  that  liberty  wherewith  Christ  has  made  us  free, 
let  us,  as  we  heretofore  yielded  our  members  to  serve  injustice, 
henceforward  yield  them  to  serve  justice  to  sanctification. 

Division  of         "THOU  SHALT  NOT  HAVE  STRANGE  GODS  BEFORE  ME."6]     The 

the  Deca-  Decalogue  naturally  divides  itself  into  two  parts,  the  first  em- 
logue.  bracing  what  regards  God,  the  second  what  regards  our  neigh 
bour;  the  duties  which  we  discharge  towards  our  neighbour 
are  referred  to  God ;  then  only  do  we  fulfil  the  divine  precept 
which  commands  us  to  love  our  neighbour,  when  we  love  him 
in  God.  This  division  of  the  Decalogue  the  pastor  will  make 
known  to  the  faithful ;  and  he  will  add  that  the  commandments 
which  regard  God,  are  those  which  were  inscribed  on  the  first 
table  of  the  law. 

This  pre-          He  will  next  show  that  the  words  which  form  the  subject 
ceptcom-     matter  of  the  present  exposition  contain  a  two-fold  precept; 
™h?bi™d   the  one    mandatory,  the  other  prohibitory      When  it  is  said ; 
what  it        "  Thou  shalt  not  have  strange  gods  before  me,"  it  is  equiva- 
comraands.  jent  to  saying ;  « thou  shalt  worship  me   the   true  God :  thou 
shalt  not  worship  strange  gods."     The  former  contains  a  pre 
cept  of  faith,  hope,  and  charity — of  faith,  for,  acknowledging 
God  to  be  immoveable,  immutable,  always  the  same,  faithful, 
vre  acknowledge  an  eternal  truth  in  the  recognition  of  these  his 
attributes  :  assenting  therefore  to   his   oracles,  we  necessarily 
yield  to  him  all  faith  and  authority — of  hope,  for  who  can  con 
template  his  omnipotence,  his  clemency,  his  beneficence,  and 
not  repose  in  him   all  his  hopes  ? — of  charity,  for  who  can 
behold  the  riches  of  his  goodness  and  love,  which  he  lavishes 
on  us  with  so  bounteous  a  hand,  and  not  love  him  ?  with  this 

i  Jerem.  xvi.  14,  et  seq.  J  John  xi.  52.  Rom.  vi.  18. 

4  Luke  i.  74,  75.  5  Horn.  vi.  2.  6  Exod.  xx.  3. 

On  the  Honour  and  Invocation  of  the  Saints.  245 

exalted    claim  upon   our  obedience  therefore  commence,  with 
this  conclude  all  his  commandments  :  "  I  am  the  Lord." 

The  negative  part  of  the  precept  is  comprised  in  these  words :  What  it 
"  thou  shalt  not  have  strange  gods  before  me."  This  our  Prohlblts- 
divine  legislator  subjoins,  not  because  it  is  not  implied  in  the 
positive  part  of  the  precept,  which  says  equivalently :  "thou 
shalt  worship  me  the  only  God,"  for  if  he  is  God,  he  is  the 
only  God ;  but  on  account  of  the  blindness  of  many,  who  of 
old  professed  to  worship  the  true  God,  and  yet  adored  a  multi 
tude  of  gods.  Of  these  there  were  many  even  amongst  the 
Israelites,  whom  Elias  reproached  with  having  "  halted  between 
two  sides,"1  and  also  amongst  the  Samaritans,  who  worshipped 
the  God  of  Israel  and  the  gods  of  the  nations.3 

Having  thus  explained  the  precept  in  its  two-fold  import,  the  This  first 
pastor  will  observe  that  this  is  the  first  and  principal  command-  ^e™^"d" 
ment,  not  only  in  order,  but  also  in  its  nature,  dignity,  and  superior 
excellence.     God  is  entitled  to  infinitely  greater  love  and  to  importance 
higher  authority  with  regard  to  his  creatures  than  the  masters 
or  monarchs  of  the  earth.     He  created  us,  He  governs  us,  He 
nurtured  us  even  in  the  womb,  brought  us  into  existence,  and 
still  supplies  us  by  his  provident  care  with  all  the  necessaries 
of  life.    Against  this  commandment  therefore  transgress  all  who  How  vio- 
have  not  faith,  hope,  and  charity  ;  a  numerous  class,  amongst  lated- 
whom  are  those  who  fall  into   heresy,  who   reject  what  the 
church  of  God  teaches  ;  those  who  give  credit  to  dreams,  divi 
nation,   for  tune  telling,  and  such   superstitious  illusions;   those 
who  despairing  of  salvation  trust  not  in  the  goodness  of  God; 
and  also  those  who  place  their  happiness  solely  in  the  wealth  of 
this  world,  in  health  and  strength,  in  personal  attractions,  or 
mental  endowments.     But  these  are  matters  which  the  pastor 
will  find  developed  more  at  large  in  treatises  on  morality.3 


IN  the  exposition  of  this  precept,  the  faithful  are  also  to  be  ac-  The  ho- 
curately  taught  that  the  veneration  and  invocation  of  angels  and  j^1 
saints,  who  enjoy  the  glory  of  heaven,  and  the  honour  which  Of  the 
the  Catholic  Church  has  always  paid  even  to  the  bodies  and  saints  not 
ashes  of  the  saints,  are  not  forbidden  by  this  commandment.4  jj™J^)slted 
Were  a  king  to  prohibit  by  proclamation  any  individual  to  as-  command 

i  3  Kings  xviii.  21.  2  4  Kings  xvii.  33. 

3  De  variis  istis  peccatis  vide  dist.  24.  q.  2.  multis  in  capitibus.  Aug.  in  lib.  de  di- 
vinat.  diemon.  cap.  5.  et  citatur  26.  q.  4.  a.  secundum.  Origen.  horn,  5.  in  Joshue  et 
habet  26.  q.  2.  c.  sed  et  illud  Aug.  lib.  2.  de  doct.  Christian,  cap.  19.  and  20.  et  ci 
tatur  eodein  cap.  illud  quod  est.  Cone.  Garth.  4.  cap.  19.  vid.  plura  26.  q.  2,  3  et  5. 

4  Vid.  Trid.  sess.  17.  de  Sacrif  Missae.  c.  3.  et  sess.  25.  sub  princip.  cap.  de  invo- 
cat.  Sanctorum.    Item  vid.  Synod.  7.  act.  6.  in  fine,  item  Aug.  lib.  8.  de  civit.  Dei. 
c.  27.  et  lib.  10.  c.  1.  et  lib.  21.  contra  Faust,  c.  21.  Basil.  Horn.  20.  in  40.  Mar.  et 
'<!G.  de  Mar.  Mamman :  item  Nazian.  orat.  in  land.  S.  Cyprian. 



Angels  re 
fused  to  be 
j>ed  by 
men,  on 
what  occa 
sions.   To 
be  honour 

and  invo 

To  honour 
the  saints 
does  not 
from,  but 

Tlit  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

sume  the  regal  character,  or  accept  the  honours  due  to  the  royal 
person,  how  unreasonable  to  infer  from  such  an  edict  a  prohi 
bition  that  suitable  honour  and  respect  should  be  paid  to  his 
magistrates  ?  Of  this  nature  is  the  relative  honour  paid  by  the 
Catholic  Church  to  angels  and  saints.  When,  walking  in  the 
footsteps  of  those  exalted  characters,  whose  names  are  recorded 
in  the  Old  Testament,  she  is  said  "to  adore  the  angels  of  God," 
she  venerates  them  as  the  special  friends  and  servants  of  God, 
but  gives  not  to  them  that  supreme  honour  which  is  due  to  God 

True,  we  sometimes  read  that  angels  refused  to  be  worshipped 
by  men  j1  but  the  worship  which  they  refused  to  accept  was 
the  supreme  honour  due  to  God  alone  :  the  Holy  Spirit  who 
says:  "Honour  and  glory  to  God  alone,"3  commands  us  also 
to  honour  our  parents  and  elders  ;3  and  the  holy  men  who  adored 
one  God  only,  are  also  said  in  Scripture  to  have  "  adored,"  that 
is  supplicated  and  venerated,  kings.  If  then  kings,  by  whose 
agency  God  governs  the  world,  are  so  highly  honoured,4  shall 
it  be  deemed  unlawful  to  honour  those  angelic  spirits,  whom 
God  has  been  pleased  to  constitute  his  ministers,  whose  services 
he  makes  use  of  not  only  in  the  government  of  his  Church,  but 
also  of  the  Universe,  by  whose  invisible  aid  we  are  every  day 
delivered  from  the  greatest  dangers  of  soul  and  body  ?  Are  they 
not,  rather,  to  be  honoured  with  a  veneration  greater,  in  propor 
tion  as  the  dignity  of  these  blessed  spirits  exceeds  that  of  kings  ? 
Another  claim  on  our  veneration  is  their  love  of  us,  which,  as  the 
Scripture  informs  us,5  prompts  them  to  pour  out  their  prayers 
for  those  countries  over  which  they  are  placed  by  Providence, 
and  for  us  whose  guardians  they  are,  and  whose  prayers  and 
tears  they  present  before  the  throne  of  God.6  Hence  our  Lord 
admonishes  us  in  the  Gospel  not  to  offend  the  little  ones,  "be 
cause  their  angels  in  heaven  always  see  the  face  of  their  Father 
who  is  in  heaven."7  Their  intercession,  therefore,  we  invoke, 
because  they  always  see  the  face  of  God,  and  are  constituted 
by  him  the  willing  advocates  of  our  salvation.  To  this  their 
invocation  the  Scriptures  bear  testimony — Jacob  invoked,  nay 
compelled,  the  angel  with  whom  he  wrestled,  to  bless  him,8 
declaring  that  he  would  not  let  him  go  until  he  had  blessed 
him  ;  and  not  only  did  he  invoke  the  blessing  of  the  angel 
whom  he  saw,  but  also  of  him  whom  he  saw  not :  "  The  an 
gel,"  says  he,  "  who  delivered  me  out  of  all  evil,  bless  these 

From  these  attestations  we  are  justified  in  concluding,  that  to 
honour  the  saints  "  who  sleep  in  the  Lord,"  to  invoke  their 
intercession,  and  to  venerate  their  sacred  relics  and  ashes,  far 
from  diminishing,  tends  considerably  to  increase  the  glory  of 

i  Apoc.  six.  10.    Apoc.  xxii.  9. 
3  Deut.  v.  16. 
6  Dan.  x.  13. 
'•  Matt,  xviii.  10. 
9  Geri.  xlviii.  16 

2  1  Tim.  i.  17.    Exod.  xx.  2.    Levit.  xix.  11. 
4  Gen.  xxiii.  7.  2  Kings  xxiv.  20.  1  Par.  29.  20- 
6  Tob.  xii.  12.  Apoc.  viii.  3. 
s  Gen.  xxxii.  26.    Osee  xii.  4. 

On  the  Honour  and  Invocation  of  the  Saints.  24? 

God,  in  proportion  as  the  Christian's  hope  is  thus  animated  and  adds  to  the 
fortified,  and  he  himself  excited  to  the  imitation  of  their  virtues.  t°™"J  u 
This  is  a  doctrine  which  is  also  supported  by  the  authority  of 
the  second  Council  of  Nice,1  the  Council  of  Gangre,3  and  of  TheCoun- 
Trent,3  and  by  the  testimony  of  the  Holy  Fathers.4     In  order  ^  fa 
however  that  the  pastor  may  be  the  better  prepared  to  meet  the  there, 
objections  of  those  who  impugn  this  doctrine,  he  will  consult 
particularly  St.  Jerome  against  Vigilantius,  and  the  fourth  book, 
sixteenth  chapter  of  Damascene  on  the  orthodox  faith  ;5    and  Apostolic 
what,  if  possible,  is  still  more  conclusive,  he  will  appeal  to  the  tradition, 
uniform  practice  of  Christians,  as  handed  down  by  the  Apostles 
and  faithfully  preserved  in  the  Church  of  God.6     But  what  ar-  Scripture 
gument  more  convincing,  than  that  which  is  supplied  by  the 
admirable  praises  given  in  Scripture  to  the  saints  of  God !     If 
the  inspired  Volume  celebrates  the  praises  of  particular  saints, 
why  question  for  a  moment  the  propriety  of  paying  them  the 
same  tribute  of  praise  and  veneration?7     Another  claim  which  The  saints 
the  saints  have  to  be  honoured  and  invoked  is,  that  they  ear-   theTr'prav^ 
nestly  importune  God  for  our  salvation,  and  obtain  for  us  by   ers. 
their  intercession  many  favours  and  blessings.     If  there  is  joy 
in  heaven  for  the  conversion  of  one  sinner,8  can  the  citizens  of 
heaven  be  indifferent  to  his  conversion,  or  neglect  to  assist  him 
by  their  prayers  ?     When  their  interposition  is  solicited  by  the 
penitent,  will  they  not  rather  implore  the  pardon  of  his  sins,  and 
the  grace  of  his  conversion  ?  Should  it  be  said  that  their  patron-    Objection 
age  is  unnecessary,  because  God  hears  our  prayers  without  the 
intervention  of  a  mediator,  the  objection  is  at  once  met  by  the 
observation  of  St.  Augustine  :     "  There  are  many  things,''  says  Answer 
he,  "  which  God  does  not  grant  without  a  mediator  and  interces 
sor:"9  an  observation  the  justness  of  which  is  confirmed  by  two 
illustrious  examples — Abimelech  and  the  friends  of  Job  were  par 
doned  but  through  the  prayers  of  Abraham  and  of  Job.10   Should 
it  be  alleged,  that  to  recur  to  the  patronage  and  intercession  of  the 
saints  argues  want  or  weakness  of  faith,  the  answer  of  the  Cen 
turion  refutes  the  allegation :  his  faith  was  highly  eulogized  by 
our  Lord  himself;  and  yet  he  sent  to  the  Redeemer  "  the  An 
cients  of  the  Jews,"  to  intercede  with  him  to  heal  his  servant.11 

True,  there  is  but  one  Mediator,  Christ  the  Lord,  who  alone  Objection, 
has  reconciled  us  through  his  blood,13  and  who,  having  accom 
plished  our  redemption,  and  having  once  entered  into  the  Holy 
of  Holies,  ceases  not  to  intercede  for  us  ;13  but  it  by  no  means  Answer. 

1  Nicasri.  Cone.  2.  act.  6. 

2  Gangr.  Can.  xx.  et  citatur  dist.  30.  cap.  si  quis  per  superbiam. 

3  Trid.  sess.  25.  item  Cone.  Chalced.  sub  finem  et  in  6.  Synod.  General,  c.  7.  et 
Cone.  Geron.  c.  3.  Aurel.  1.  c.  29. 

4  Damasc.  do  orth,  fid.  lib.  4.  c.  6.  s  Lib.  4.  de  orth.  fid.  c,  16. 

6  Dionys.  c.  7.  Hier.  Eccles.  Iren.  lib.  5.  contra  hseres.  c.  19.  Athan.  serm.  in 
Evangel,  de  sancta  Deip.  Euseb.  lib.  13.  praspar.  Evang.  c.  7.  Cornel,  pap.  epist.  1. 
Hilar.  in  Ps.  126.  Ambr.  in  lib.  de  viduis. 

i  Eccl.  xliv.  xlv.  xlvi.  xlvii.  xlviii.  xlix.  lib.  Hebr.  xi.  8  Luke  xv.  7.  10. 

9  Aug.  qurest.  149  super  Exod.  serm.  2.  et  4.  de  St.  Sleph. 

»°  Gen.  xx.  »  Matt.  viii.  5.    Luke  vii.  3.  '2  1  Tim.  ii.  5. 

'3  Heb.  ix.  12  et  7.  25. 

248  Tlie  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

follows,  that  it  is  therefore  unlawful  to  have  recourse  to  the  in 
tercession  of  the  saints.  If,  because  we  have  one  mediator  Christ 
Jesus,  it  were  unlawful  to  ask  the  intercession  of  the  saints, 
the  Apostle  would  not  have  recommended  himself  with  so  much 
earnestness  to  the  prayers  of  his  brethren  on  earth.1  In  his 
capacity  as  Mediator,  the  prayers  of  the  living  should  derogate 
from  the  glory  and  dignity  of  Christ  not  less  than  the  interces 
sion  of  the  saints  in  heaven. 

The  invo-        But  what  incredulity  so  obstinate  but  must  yield  to  the  evi- 
cation  of      Jence  in  support  of  the  honour  and  invocation  of  the   saints, 
ved  b^tiie  which  the  wonders  wrought  at  their  tombs  flash  upon  the  mind  ? 
miracles      The  blind  see,  the  lame  walk,  the  paralyzed  are  invigorated,  the 
theimmbs'  ^eac^  ra'sec^ to  ^e'  anc^  ev^  demons  are  expelled  from  the  bodies 
of  men  !     These  are  authentic  facts,  attested  not,  as  frequently 
happens,  by  very  grave  persons  who  have  heard  them   from 
others  ;  they  are  facts  which  rest  on  the  ocular  attestation  of  wit 
nesses,  whose  veracity  is  beyond  all  question,  of  an  Ambrose,2 
and  con-      and  an  Augustine.3     But  why  multiply  proofs  on  this  head  ? 
by     ^  ^ie  cl°taes'  tne  kerchiefs,4  and   even  the  very  shadows  of 
the  saints,  whilst  yet  on  earth,  banished  disease   and   restored 
health   and  vigour,  who  will  have  the  hardihood  to  deny  that 
God  can  still   work  the  same   wonders  by  the  holy  ashes,  the 
bones  and  other  relics  of  his  saints  who  are  in  glory  ?     Of  this 
we  have  a  proof  in  the  resuscitation  of  the  dead  body  which 
was  let  down  into  the  grave  of  Eliseus,  and  which,  on  touch 
ing  the  body  of  the  prophet,  was  instantly  restored  to  life.5 


These  Some,  supposing  these  words  to  constitute  a  distinct  precept, 

words  do     reduce  the  ninth  and  tenth  commandments  into  one.     St.  Au- 
a  distinct"1  gustine  holds  a  different  opinion  :  considering  the  two  last  to  be 
precept.       distinct,  he  refers  these  words  to  the  first  commandment  ;7  and 
this  division,  because  well  known  and  much  approved  in  the 
Catholic  church,  we  willingly  adopt.     As  a  very  strong  argu 
ment  in  its  favour,' we  may,  however,  add  the  propriety  of  an 
nexing  to  the  first  commandment  its  sanction,  the  rewards  or 
punishments  attached  to  its  observance  or  violation  ;  a  propriety 
which  can  be  preserved  in  the  arrangement  alone  which  we 
have  chosen. 

Do  not  pro-  This  commandment  does  not  prohibit  the  arts  of  painting  or 
hibit  the  sculpture ;  the  Scriptures  inform  us  that  God  himself  commanded 
images  of  Cherubim,8  and  also  the  brazen  serpent9  to  be  made; 

•  Rom.  xv.  30.    Heb,  xiii.  18.  2  Ambr.  epist.  85.  et  serm.  95. 

3  Aug.  de  civit.  Dei,  lib.  22.  c.  8.  et  epist,  137. 

4  Acts  v.  xk.  12et5.  15.  a  4  Kings  xiii.  21.  6  Exod.  xx.  4. 

7  Vid.  Aug.  super  Exod.  quaest.  71.  and  in  Ps.  32.  serm.  2.  Sententia  D.  Aug.  de 
pnceeptorum  dist  inctione  magis  placet  Ecclewae  Vid.  D.  Thorn,  i.  2.  quasi.  100.  art,  4. 
«  Exod.  xxv.  18.    3  Kings  vi.  27.  9  Num.  xxi.  8. 9. 

On  the  Honour  and  Invocation  of  the  Saints.  249 

and  the  conclusion,  therefore,  at  which  we  must  arrive,  is  that 
images  are  prohibited  only  in  as  much  as  they  may  be  the 
means  of  transferring  the  worship  of  God  to  inanimate  objects, 
as  though  the  adoration  offered  them  were  given  to  so  many 

By  the  violation  of  this  commandment  the  majesty  of  God  is  Prohibit 
grievously  offended  in  a  two-fold  manner  :  the  one,  by  wor-  t 
shipping  idols  and  images  as  gods,  or  believing  that  they  pos 
sess  any  divinity  or  virtue  entitling  them  to  our  worship,  by 
praying  to,  or  reposing  confidence  in  them,  as  the  Gentiles  did, 
who  placed  their  hopes  in  idols,  and  whose  idolatry  the  Scrip 
tures  universally  reprobate :  the  other,  by  attempting  to  form  a 
representation  of  the  Deity,  as  if  he  were  visible  to  mortal  eyes, 
or  could  be  represented  by  the  pencil  of  the  painter  or  the 
chisel  of  the  statuary.  "  Who,"  says  Damascene,  "  can  repre 
sent  God,  invisible,  as  he  is,  incorporeal,  uncircumscribed  by 
limits,  and  incapable  of  being  described  under  any  figure  or 
form  T"1  This  subject,  however,  the  pastor  will  find  treated 
more  at  large  in  the  second  Council  of  Nice.2  Speaking  of  the 
Gentiles,  the  Apostle  has  these  admirable  words :  "  They 
changed  the  glory  of  the  incorruptible  God  into  a  likeness  of 
the  image  of  a  corruptible  man,  and  of  birds,  and  of  four- 
footed  beasts,  and  of  creeping  things."3  Hence  the  Israelites, 
when  they  exclaimed  before  the  molten  calf:  "These  are  thy 
Gods,  O  Israel,  that  have  brought  thee  out  of  the  land  of 
Egypt,"*  are  denounced  as  idolaters ;  because  they  "changed 
their  glory  into  the  likeness  of  a  calf  that  eateth  grass."5 

When,  therefore,  the  Almighty  forbids  the  worship  of  strange  Their 
gods,  with  a  view  to  the  utter  extinction  of  all  idolatry,  he  also  meaning- 
prohibits  the  formation  of  an  image  of  the  Deity  from  brass  or 
other  materials,  as  Isaias  declares  when  he  asks :  "  To  whom 
then  have  you  likened  God,  or  what  image  will  you  make 
for  him?"8  That  this  is  the  meaning  of  the  prohibitory  part 
of  the  precept  is  proved,  not  only  from  the  writings  of  the 
Holy  Fathers,  who,  as  may  be  seen  in  the  seventh  General 
Council,  give  to  it  this  interpretation  ;  but  also  from  these  words 
of  Deuteronomy,  by  which  Moses  sought  to  withdraw  the 
Israelites  from  the  worship  of  idols:  "You  saw  not,"  says  he, 
"  any  similitude  in  the  day  that  the  Lord  God  spoke  to  you  in 
Horeb,  from  the  midst  of  the  fire."7  These  words  this  wisest 
of  legislators  addressed  to  the  people  of  Israel,  lest  through 
error  of  any  sort,  they  should  make  an  image  of  the  Deity,  and 
transfer  to  any  thing  created,  the  honour  due  to  God  alone. 

To   represent  the   Persons  of  the  Holy  Trinity  by  certain  To  repre- 
forms,  under  which,  as  we  read  in  the  Old  and  New  Testa-  theKo 
ments,  they  deigned  to  appear,  is  not  to  be  deemed  contrary  to  of^Tri 
religion,  or  the  Law  of  God.     Wrn  so  ignorant  as  to  believe  nity  under 
lhat  such  forms  are  express  images  jf  the  Deity  ?— forms,  as  S^t 

i  Damas.  lib.  4.  de  ortrod.  fid.  c.  17.  2  Cone.  Nicsen.  2  act.  3          Pr°h'bited. 

s  Rom.  i.  23.  1  Exod.  xxxii.  4  s  Ps.  cv.  20. 

« Isa.  xl.  18.    Acts  vii.  40.  T  Deut.  iv.  15,  16. 



The  same 
true  with 
regard  to 

which  re 
present  the 
Ghost ; 

the  Saints, 
and  also 
the  Re 

The  lawful 
use  of  im 

The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

the  pastor  will  teach,  which  only  express  some  attribute  or  ac 
tion  ascribed  to  God.  Thus,  Daniel  describes  "  The  Ancient 
of  Days,  seated  on  a  throne,  and  before  him  the  books  opened  ;" 
to  signify  his  eternity  and  wisdom,  by  which  he  sees  and 
judges  all  the  thoughts  and  actions  of  men.1  Angels,  also,  are 
represented  under  human  form  and  winged,  to  give  us  to  under 
stand  that  they  are  actuated  by  benevolent  feelings  towards  us, 
and  are  always  prepared  to  execute  the  ministry  of  God  to  man  : 
"  they  are  all  ministering  spirits,  sent  to  minister  for  them  who 
shall  receive  the  inheritance  of  salvation."3  That  attributes  of 
the  Holy  Ghost  are  represented  under  the  forms  of  a  dove,  and 
of  tongues  of  fire,  as  we  read  in  the  Gospel3  and  in  the  Acts  of 
the  Apostles,4  is  a  matter  too  well  known  to  require  lengthened 

But  to  make  and  honour  the  images  of  our  Lord,  of  his  holy 
and  virginal  Mother,  and  of  the  Saints,  all  of  whom  appeared 
in  human  form,  is  not  only  not  forbidden  by  this  command 
ment,  but  has  always  been  deemed  a  holy  practice,  and  the 
surest  indication  of  a  mind  deeply  impressed  with  gratitude 
towards  them.  This  position  derives  confirmation  from  the  mo 
numents  of  the  Apostolic  age,  the  General  Councils  of  the 
Church,  and  the  writings  of  so  many  amongst  the  Fathers,  emi 
nent  alike  for  sanctity  and  learning,  all  of  whom  are  of  one  ac 
cord  upon  the  subject.  But  the  pastor  will  not  content  himself 
with  showing  the  lawfulness  of  the  use  of  images  in  churches, 
and  of  paying  them  religious  respect,  when  this  respect  is  re 
ferred  to  their  prototypes — he  will  do  more — he  will  show  that 
the  uninterrupted  observance  of  this  practice  up  to  the  present 
time  has  been  attended  with  great  advantage  to  the  faithful ;  as 
may  be  seen  in  the  work  of  Damascene,  on  images,5  and  in  the 
seventh  General  Council,  which  is  the  second  of  Nice.6 

But  as  the  enemy  of  mankind,  by  his  wiles  arid  deceits, 
seeks  to  pervert  even  the  most  holy  institutions,  should  the 
faithful  happen  at  all  to  offend  in  this  particular,  the  pastor,  in 
accordance  with  the  decree  of  the  Council  of  Trent,7  will  use 
every  exertion  in  his  power  to  correct  such  an  abuse,  and,  if  ne 
cessary,  explain  the  decree  itself  to  the  people.  He  will  also 
inform  the  unlettered,  and  those  who  may  be  ignorant  of  the 
proper  use  of  images,  that  they  are  intended  to  instruct  in  the 
history  of  the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  and  to  revive  the 
recollection  of  the  events  which  they  record  ;  that  thus  excited 
to  the  contemplation  of  heavenly  things  we  may  be  the  more 
ardently  inflamed  to  adore  and  love  God.  He  will,  also,  in 
form  the  faithful  that  the  images  of  the  Saints  are  placed  in 
churches,  not  only  to  be  honoured,  but  that,  also,  admonished 
by  their  example  we  may  imitate  their  lives  and  emulate  their 

i  Dan.  vii.  13.  2  Heb.  i.  14.  3  Mat  lii.  16.  Mark  i.  10.  Luke  iii.  22. 

John  i.  32.  4  Acts  ii.  3.  s  Lib.  4.  de  fid.  orthod.  cap.  17. 

6  JNic.  Syn.  passim.  7  Trid.  Con.  Sess.  23. 

"  De  cuitu  et  usu  imaginum  vid.  Concil.  Nicoen.  1.  act  7.  Histor.  tnpart,  lib.  6 

On  the  Honour  and  Invocation  of  the  Saints.  251 


MY  COMMANDMENTS."]  In  this  concluding1  clause  of  the  first  In  these 
commandment,  two  things  occur  which  demand  exposition,  concluding 
The  first  is,  that  whilst,  on  account  of  the  enormous  guilt  ^nss'de^° 
incurred  by  the  violation  of  the  first  commandment,  and  the  mand  ex- 
propensity  of  man  towards  its  violation,  the  punishment  is  here  Planj»"on. 
properly  proposed  :  it  is  also  appended  to  all  the  other  com 
mandments.  Every  law  enforces  its  observance  by  some  sanc 
tion,  by  rewards  and  punishments  ;  and  hence  the  frequent  and 
numerous  promises  of  God,  which  are  recorded  in  Scripture. 
To  omit  those  that  we  meet  almost  in  every  page  of  the  Old 
Testament,  we  read  in  the  Gospel:  "If  thou  wilt  enter  into 
life,  keep  the  commandments  ;"*  and  again  :  "  He  that  doth  the 
will  of  my  Father  who  is  in  heaven,  he  shall  enter  heaven  ;"3 
and  also  ;  "  Every  tree  that  doth  not  yield  good  fruit  shall  be 
cut  down  and  cast  into  the  fire  ;"3  "  Whosoever  is  angry  with 
his  brother  shall  be  guilty  of  the  judgment  ;"4  "  If  you  will 
not  forgive  men,  neither  will  your  Father  forgive  you  your  of 
fences."5  The  other  observation  is,  that  this  divine  sanction  is  n 
to  be  proposed  in  a  very  different  manner  to  the  spiritual  and 
to  the  carnal  Christian :  to  the  spiritual  who  is  animated  by  the 
Spirit  of  God,6  and  who  yields  to  him  a  willing  and  cheerful 
obedience,  it  is,  in  some  sort,  glad  tidings,  and  a  strong  proof 
of  the  divine  goodness :  in  it  he  recognises  the  parental  care  of 
a  most  loving  God,  who,  now  by  rewards,  again  by  punish 
ments,  almost  compels  his  creatures  to  adore  and  worship  him. 
The  spiritual  man  acknowledges  the  infinite  goodness  of  God 
in  vouchsafing  to  issue  his  commands  to  him,  and  to  make  use 
of  his  service  to  the  glory  of  the  divine  name ;  and  not  only 
does  he  acknowledge  the  divine  goodness,  he  also  cherishes  a 
strong  hope  that,  when  God  commands  what  he  pleases,  he 
will  also  give  strength  to  fulfil  what  he  commands.  But  to  the 
carnal  man,  who  is  not  yet  disenthralled  from  the  spirit  of  servi 
tude,  and  who  abstains  from  sin  more  through  fear  of  punish 
ment  than  love  of  virtue,  this  sanction  of  the  divine  Law,  which 
closes  each  of  the  commandments,  is  burdensome  and  severe. 
He  is,  therefore,  to  be  supported  by  pious  exhortation,  and  to 
be  led,  as  it  were,  by  the  hand,  in  the  path  pointed  out  by  the 
Law  of  God.  These  two  classes  of  persons  the  pastor,  there- 

c.  41.  Eus.  lib.  8.  Hist.  Eccl.  c.  14.  Cyril,  lib.  6.  contr.  Jul.  Aug.  lib.  1.  de  consensu 
Evang.  c,  10.  vid.  item,  sextam  Synod,  can.  82.  et  Cone.  Rom.  sub.  Greg.  III.  et 
Cone.  Gentiliac.  Item  ef  aliud  Rom.  sub  Stephano  III.  Vid.  etiam  lib.  de  Rom. 
Pontif.  in  vita  Sylvestri.  Item  Lactant.  carm,  de  pass.  Dom.  Basil  oral,  in  S.  Bar- 
laham,  Greg.  Nyss.  oral,  in  Theod.  Prud.  Hym.  de  S.  Cas.  et  hym.  de  S.  Hippolyt. 
Item  apud  Baron.  Annal.  Eccles.  an  57.  num.  116.  et  deinceps.  vid.  interum  Aug. 
contra  Faust,  lib.  22.  c.  73- 

1  Matt.  xix.  17.  2  Matt  vii.  21.  3  Matt.  iii.  10.  and  vii.  19. 

*  Matt.  v.  23.  s  Matt.  vi.  15.  6  Rom.  viii.  14. 


The  Catechism  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

They  also 

inents  for 



Zeal  in  the 
service  of 

fore,  will  keep  in  view,  as  often  as  he  has  occasion  to  explain 
any  of  the  commandments. 

The  carnal  and  spiritual  are,  however,  to  be  excited  by  two 
cons'derati°ns>  which  are  contained  in  this  concluding  clause, 
and  are  well  calculated  to  enforce  obedience  to  the  divine  Law 

The  °ne  is'  that  when  God  is  called  "  Tne  Strong>"  tne  iforce 
°f  tnat  appellation  requires  to  be  fully  expounded  to  the  faith- 
ful  ;  because,  unappalled  by  the  terrors  of  the  divine  menaces, 
the  flesh  frequently  indulges  in  the  delusive  expectation  of  esca 
ping,  in  a  variety  of  ways,  the  wrath  of  God  and  his  menaced 
judgments.  But  when  deeply  impressed  with  the  awful  con 
viction  that  God  is  "  The  Strong,"  the  sinner  will  exclaim 
with  David  :  "  Whither  shall  I  go  from  thy  spiri